7 Secrets to Captivate an Audience
Here are just seven ways you can make a good first impression and make an impact.
Who is there? Find out more about who will be in your audience prior to speaking. I always do a comprehensive survey prior to all speaking engagements. I have a checklist that I go through. I want to know the ratio male to female, age groups, professions, interests etc. I also always try to arrive early and mingle with my audience, shake their hands and chat with as many as possible so that I can get a feel for them.
Speak to the audience's interests. Remember that it's not about you, it's about them. If you have information to share then make sure that this information is presented in a way that will be of interest to them. An audience will always be thinking WIFM (What's in it for me?)
Make eye-contact. Careful of eye patterns that include sweeping over the audience like a windscreen wiper blade. Make eye contact with individuals for a good few seconds throughout the audience. Do not leave one side out in favor of another.
Smile. There really is no better way to connect with others than to smile. Make sure it's a genuine smile because people can spot a fake a mile off.
Use embracing and open body language. Open body, arms open and palms facing up. Feet must point forward and be about hip distance apart.
Use humor. Some self-deprecating humor is a good idea. Ronald Reagan was the master in this area.
Be conversational. Ask the audience questions or get them involved in some way. Audience participation is a great way to break the ice and to get people engaged.