If you take care of the beginning, the end will take care of itself ~ Anonymous
When we communicate in public, we have approximately one minute to engage our audience’s attention, establish believability, familiarize them to our topic, and encourage them to listen.
If you waste those valuable opening seconds with an irrelevant joke, or an apology your listener’s minds are likely to wander, and you may not get them back. Losing them for 5 seconds is bad enough because it will take them another 10 seconds to catch up with you.
Here are some tips to engage your audience on an emotional level so that you will have their undivided attention throughout your presentation.
Use Emotional Language
Dull timeworn facts seldom excite people into action. Using words that evoke emotions will make a much bigger impression when you speak. There are numerous sentiments you can activate in the audience by using the appropriate choice of words. Delight, rage, sorrow, melancholy are just a few. Knowing your reason for addressing the group will help you to pick which emotions you want to tap. When you know your purpose, choosing the appropriate words to elicit the desired emotional reaction becomes easier. For example, if you desire to take your listeners back to a childhood experience you might say, “Do you recollect the time when your classmate did something bad at school and your teacher caned him in public?” The phrase “caned him in public” would induce an emotional response that many grown-ups can relate to. A “generation Y” audience may not relate to this phrase since corporal punishment is not widely practiced in schools these days. Therefore, it is advisable to pick words that your audience can relate to.
Show Your Vulnerable Side
Many speakers are hesitant to implement this idea because they like to remain detached and supposedly dignified. If you fall in this category, I don’t blame you. You may not know what is appropriate and what is not.
You don’t have to disclose your “skeletons in the closet” when on stage, but you could talk about how much you like dogs, or how you love to play with your children. . .anything that will give them an insight into the “human” side of you. By exposing the “softer” side of you, your audience will develop a stronger bond with you. Once the bond is established, it would be easier for you to influence or inspire your audience effectively.
This concept is also known as establishing common ground with the audience.
Humour is a potent and effective instrument that gives the audience’s mind an opportunity to breath in the face of heavy material. It also makes you more affable and enjoyable to listen to. When your audience like you, your emotional connection with them becomes stronger. A humorous speech is also more likely to make your information more unforgettable.
There are four basic methods to add humour that don’t necessitate any skill at all. Just remember this acronym; P U U I.
P = puns
U = unexpected twists
U = understatements
I – irony
Just Google for “jokes with puns” or “jokes with irony” and you will get loads of samples with detailed explanation on what a pun or understatement joke is.
Similar to props, ensure that your humour relates to the point you are trying to make.
Be A Problem Solver
An effective way to make the audience love you is to convey solutions to their difficulties. If you have researched your audience well, you should know what their problems are. It’s your business to suggest solutions for them to try. In modern day rational this is what motivational discourse is all about. No longer is it sufficient to get your listeners all fired up where they are vigorously bouncing off the walls without a hint as to what they will do with this new found enthusiasm and stimulus. Modern skilled motivational speakers bring solutions and a strategy of action to attain them.
Are The Logistics Okay?
Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the Kings horses & all the Kings men,
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Take cue from this nursery rhyme.
The best groundwork, rehearsal, and audience study could be ruined if you overlook any details surrounding the logistical arrangements. You want to know what is going to transpire before you speak, and what will occur after you speak: What is the seating arrangement? What kind of microphone will you be using? How big is the screen for the PowerPoint presentation? Will the people be consuming alcohol? Is the lighting sufficient?
These and many other questions will significantly enhance or ruin your presentation.
Remember, the same speech conveyed with significantly dissimilar logistics could be received in an entirely different way. You could even go from a superb evaluation to a “Humpty Dumpty” just because of the way your audience were seated. You need to know the differences and how they will affect your presentation.
Many believe that good public speakers are born, not made. I wish that was true of me. Well, some people are more tranquil and at ease speaking in front of others, and I’m happy for them. Perhaps they have learnt how to establish an emotional connection with themselves first before attempting to do the same with their audience? Now that’s something to ponder upon…
I wish you well in your next presentation