How to win over your audience

By: Dave Linehan

Date: 15 February 2017

Audience applauding - how to win over your audience.When you are giving a speech or making a presentation you are essentially trying to convey information.

One of the best ways to do this is by building rapport; by making a connection with the audience they will be more receptive to accepting and retaining your message. If you fail to connect with your audience, they will lose interest and your speech will be far less effective.

Here are five simple ways to connect with an audience and make your next speech one to remember:

1. Introduce yourself to the audience in advance

Introducing yourself to people as they enter the room is a great way to build rapport and gain supporters. This demonstrates that you are genuine and approachable.

Then when speaking it can be beneficial to drop in some of the names of people with whom you’ve spoken. People love to be recognised and it’s an excellent way to connect with the audience.

2. Identify their needs

No matter what the topic is, the presentation is an opportunity to serve your audience, not to sell to them.

Build a presentation tailored to one audience, on one occasion, presented by one presenter, conveying one story, with one purpose.

Ask yourself:

  • Who will be most likely to attend?
  • What might some of the beliefs or ideas of this audience be?
  • What does this audience already know about the topic?
  • What specific background information will they need to understand the concept?
  • What type of language is needed to gain their respect and attention?

Find out what the audience wants to hear, then talk about that.

3. Tell a personal story

People can relate to stories, particularly personal stories from our lives. Many stories start by describing either a place or a time. The idea is to paint a picture in the mind of our listeners of where/when the story occurred.

A great example of storytelling can be seen in the brilliant Stanford commencement address Steve Jobs gave in 2005. "Today, I want to tell you three stories from my life." said Jobs, who then proceeded to use the three stories as the basis for his larger message, including points about "connecting the dots" in your life and how major life setbacks can be a blessing in disguise.

4. Make eye contact

In a large room, it’s easy to look out at the audience without ever really seeing anybody. That is, we scan the audience constantly and never let our eyes land. Instead, force yourself to look at one single person while you make a point. Get out the whole idea before letting your eyes move to the next person. Sticking with one person for each point is nearly impossible if you are not truly connecting your material to that person and so it is a great real-time test.

5. Smile and be happy

Great speakers always convey a sense that they love being there and that there’s nothing else in the world they’d rather be doing than speaking right now. A smile certainly engenders good feelings and creates a connection.

The art of public speaking is actually the art of connecting. If you can connect with a room full of people, then you can also connect with an audience of one. And the people we remember most are not those with the smartest commentary or sharpest wit. We remember people best when we connect with them.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Dave Linehan, Toastmasters International