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Ten Tips: Public Speaking Success Is About Forging A Relationship With EACH Audience Member

If you have to speak to a group, it's easy to forget that you aren't speaking to an audience, but speaking to each person in that audience. One of the keys to success when giving presentations, or speaking to a group is to create a condition where each person feels like he or she has a relationship to you, and what you are saying. Here's how:

  • Make eye contact individually by scanning and briefly looking at each person present. Do NOT look at the back of the room, as some suggest, at your notes, or at your Powerpoint.
  • Use stories liberally, particularly those that humanize you, and let the audience get to know you.
  • Observe the reactions of the individuals in the group. That will tell you whether they are connecting with you or not.
  • Use the reactions you observe to draw in individuals. For example, if you see someone shaking his or her head, ask if they agree or disagree. Create engagement one person at a time.
  • Greet people as they enter the room. Take a bit with each person to find out a little about them. It help you personalize.
  • Never memorize your speech. When you memorize, you won't sound "real". The same with reading. Do not sound mechanical, but portray yourself as a real person.
  • If you portray yourself as an "expert", you may create a barrier between you, and the members of the audience, and there's a tendency for people to want to take down "experts".
  • Treat each comment or disagreement as important, and react with being defensive. Don't try to convince someone to change their mind.
  • Keep in mind that it's not YOU who is doing your audience a favor by speaking, but that it's your audience that is doing a favor for you by listening. It's about them. Not you.
  • Tailor your message to fit the audience members. To that end, find out as much as possible about their concerns, interests, etc., and use stories and examples that fit THEM.

There's more tips and suggestions below about putting together a speech or presentation that will get your message across through relationship building.


Presentation Skills articles- Difficult Questions By Mary Sandro - Honesty is the only policy when presenting to a group. However, blatantly admitting, %u201CI don%u2019t know%u201D, in response to a direct question from an audience member can be disastrous. The solution is to be honest and maintain credibility at the same time. No one can know the answer to every question. It%u2019s how the inevitable situation is handled that separates great presenters from amateurs. (Added: 11-Sep-2001 Hits: 429 )

Presentation Skills articles- Visual Aids Undermine Presentations By Mary Sandro - The belief that visual aids equal a presentation is a very common misconception. Visual aids are aids. They are not even necessary, usually. A presentation is the information, stories, statistics, quotes, and opinions that the presenter shares. Visual aids, if used, enhance the presenter%u2019s message, not the other way around. (Added: 11-Sep-2001 Hits: 478 )

Public speaking room setup By MA - Public Speaking: Room Setup Makes a Big Difference The arrangement of chairs, the sound system, the lighting and the overall climate of the room can make a big difference in the way a public speaking engagement is received. You may not think you have much control over these items, but think again, because you do. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 295 )

Public speaking article - Storytelling DO's By NA - Some tips on story telling and public speaking (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 347 )

Public speaking article - humor delivery tips By NA - Tips on how to use humor in your presentations. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 395 )

How To Make A Point with Humor By NA - One of the old saws of public speaking says that you should "Tell em what you're gonna tell 'em. Tell 'em. Then tell 'em what you told 'em." When you want to make a point during your presentation, you can use a similar formula. You tell 'em the point, illustrate the point, then tell 'em the point again. This formula, however, can seem boring and redundant if you don't spice it up a little. One way to do it is to use humor. Here's the formula: (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 1045 )

Article on public speaking humor By NA - Why should I bother using humor in my public speaking? Can't I just deliver my information and sit down? You sure can and that's what most people do. The problem is that most people are not effective public speakers. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 476 )

Public speaking article - placing humor in your presentation By NA - You are probably wondering how you decide where to put the humor you have so carefully selected to use in your presentation. You weren't wondering? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 341 )

Laws of Humor By Scott Friedman - You Do Not Have To Use Humor, Unless You Want To Get Paid People will pay more to be entertained than to be educated. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 332 )

Public speaking closings By NA - One of the worst mistakes you can make as a public speaker is talking too long. Not only will you send some folks to never, never land, you will make some of them downright mad. If you talk too long, they will leave saying, "That speaker just wouldn't quit." Don't let this happen to you! Say what you have to say and sit down. Before you do, give them a well thought out closing. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 338 )

Public speaking and industry specific humor By NA - If you are looking for stories and humor in a specific industry, you must work a little harder than you would have to find general humor. Certain professions like medicine and law have many individual books, newsletters, and articles written about them. But if you are a plumbing executive, or you are speaking to the plumbing industry it is unlikely you could go down to your local public bookstore and find a plumbing joke book. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 379 )

Public speaking article - delivering the punch line By NA - The punch line gets its name from the delivery technique used. You must punch the line out a little harder and with a slightly different voice than the rest of the joke. Lean into the microphone and say it louder and more clearly than you said the setup lines. If the audience does not hear the punch line, they are not going to laugh. Just before the punch line you should pause slightly (see Timing) to emphasize and draw special attention to the line. (Added: 30-Jul-2001 Hits: 410 )

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Pages Updated On: 21-Sep-2015 - 10:22:34

About The Author

Robert's books have sold over 300 thousand copies worldwide, and have been translated into Chinese, French, German and Japanese.

He holds a Masters Degree in Applied Psychology, and has taught clinical and counselling psychology at the college level.

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