“The world is shaped by two things — stories told and the memories they leave behind.” -Vera Nazarian, Dreams of the Compass Rose
Our ideas live and grow to the extent we can effectively communicate them. Communication is one of those skills, no matter how good you are at it, you can always get better! One element of communication that often gets forgotten, communication is bidirectional. In public speaking audience management is essential. The following pearls will help you grow your ideas in the most dynamic way.
Top Audience Management Pearls
- Influence comes from relationship. Audience management is synonymous with leadership in my mind. All the principles I have found successful in leadership also apply in audience management too. First and foremost both are relational practices! Establish relationship with the audience in the first 3 minutes of your presentation.
- Lead by example. Show the audience how to treat you as a speaker by how you treat your audience and other speakers. Remember the timeless adage, ‘It isn’t what you say…it is what you do.’
- Your audience wants you to succeed! No one wants to sit through a bad presentation. Your audience wants you to be good, and will even help you if you just let them know how. In fact many disruptive audience behaviors are birthed out of well-intentioned audience members that mistakenly think they are trying to help out when they sense a presentation is not going well. Don’t be afraid to be directive with your presentation and lead the audience experience.
- You set the tone. Just like great leadership, you set the tone and bring the audience to your level. Don’t let the audience dictate your presentation tone. If you have done all your pre-presentation work correctly, the audience will only take minutes to join you.
- Let them speak. The best presentations are the ones that are skillfully facilitated by you, but co-created with your audience. That requires practice and sophistication of skills that go way beyond the ‘lecturer’ speaking model. It is worth it though to develop the skills to guide facilitated learning experiences.
Position your audience as the focus, after all you owe it to the ideas to say it right.
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