Don’t just settle for a room full of listeners. Shoot for transforming your audience to allies!
How can you do that? Start with these steps:
1. Build rapport before you step up to speak. Mingle with the crowd for 15-20 minutes prior to the speech and introduce yourself. Work the crowd just like you would in any networking opportunity. This transforms you into a person, not just another speaker.
2. Tell stories. For whatever reason, it seems as though the human mind is geared toward paying closer attention to stories rather than abstract points. The use of good stories, meaning those that have a conflict and resolution, will keep your audience engaged.
3. Be conversational. Talk TO people, not AT people. Relate by simply talking to them. Think of it as having a conversation with a large group of friends or colleagues. Approaching any presentation — with clients, colleagues or prospects — as a conversation, instantly gives you the vocal inflection and variety you need to be credible and authentic.
4. Remember, the eyes have it. The temptation when speaking to a crowd is to simply use a soft focus on the whole group or several people at a time. Instead, look at people within the crowd. One popular suggestion is to look at one person until you’ve finished making the point, and then repeat that process with someone else in the audience. To learn more useful tips to increase eye contact click here.
5. Smile. This is a classic piece of advice dating at least back to Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. Smiling is a way to make people like you instantly, and it’s also contagious. Frequently, people will smile back at you. In that case, you’ve just engaged that person.
Simple steps yet overlooked all to often. Make it your goal to transform your audience from listeners to allies the next time you step up to speak!