The best public speakers are constantly trying to find a way to improve the connection that they have with their audience. Unfortunately, it can be a rather tricky goal to accomplish. Learning how to ensure that you are connected and intentionally communicating takes practice and is hard, time-consuming work.
How can you really connect with your audience? Remember these areas of connected communication:
- Reciprocate Attention – You may not be aware of it, but the idea that you must listen if someone has listened to you is an innate “golden rule” for most people. This means that if your audience actively takes interest and really listens to what you have to say to them, you must respectfully reciprocate the attention. One mistake that all too many presenters make is by taking the first few moments of a presentation to introduce themselves. While this may sound like an odd thing to negatively portray, an introduction right out of the gate will make your audience totally disconnect from your presentation and may ruin your chances of connecting. Instead, try opening with a question or by showing that you understand an issue for the audience, and then introduce yourself later in the presentation. Do as much as you can to try and make a genuine connection with them.
- Invite Interaction – Humans look for meaning in everything by nature and will try to then create meaning through relationships. When you are presenting, you are creating a relationship with the audience no matter how many people are there. This inherently means that you must not be the only one talking. While you draft your presentation, take the time to think about how you can involve audience members. This can be as simple as telling an anecdote that will invoke a response in the audience, by asking thought-provoking questions, or inviting them to ask you their own questions. By creating a dialogue, your will not only connect better with your audience, but will also deliver a much more memorable presentation.
- Consider the Psyche – Have you ever walked out of a presentation and felt like the speaker was just talking to you? That means that the speaker took the time to connect with you by considering the way you and the rest of the audience would think. You can accomplish this for your own presentation by getting into the head of the audience. Consider what kind of knowledge the average audience member will be attending the presentation with, then address any issues or misunderstandings they may have about the topic. Are there areas of the topic that they may disagree with? Bring these to light and address them during the speech.
Keep these connected communication tips in mind when writing your presentation and while you’re presenting – your audience will thank you for it.