We don’t just give a speech for the fun of it – there is always a reason for it. Creating, practicing, and then delivering a speech is hard work and the reason that we’re willing to do all of this work is because we believe in the importance of public speaking and truly think that we’re going to end up changing the world. However, in order for that to happen, we’re going to need to make a connection with our audience. In order for that to happen, there are three things that we’re going to have to do during our next speech.
Tease Your Audience
One thing that I think that most of believe is that when we are creating a speech, we need to get to the point as quickly as possible. We’ve been told so many times that audiences today have very short attention spans and so we think that we need to grab their attention early on.
It turns out that this is actually bad advice. The thing that all too often we are overlooking is that we need to take the time to make our audience want to receive the information that we have to share with them. If we just show up and dump it on them, they won’t know what to do with it. Instead, we need to take the time to tease them.
When we tease our audience, what we are really doing is revealing some of what we are going to be sharing with them, but not all of it. Instead we show them just a little bit, and then we hide it from them once again. By doing this we make our audience start to really want to hear what we have to tell them. We create curiosity and this means that when we finally get around to sharing our information with them, they are warmed up and ready to receive it.
Make Eye Contact
Although telling a speaker to make eye contact with their audience may strike you as being a fairly basic thing to do, you’d be amazed at how many of us don’t do this. We are generally very focused on what we want to say – that’s what we practiced at home after all. When it comes time to deliver our speech, we tend to focus on remembering what we want to say and forget about how we want to say it.
Sometimes we can anchor ourselves in one spot and we end up addressing only one half of our audience. We are so focused on what we want to say that we don’t move and because of this part of our audience is left feeling that we didn’t talk to them. This is not helped when we forget to make eye contact with any part of our audience. Forgetting this basic skill will result in us not being able to connect with part of our audience.
Respond To Your Audience
One of the things that they never teach us in speaker school is how to respond to our audience. What we need to realize is that any speech that we give is a dynamic event. As we deliver our speech, it is going to have an impact on our audience.
What this means for you as a speaker is that when something that you’ve said gets a reaction out of your audience, you need to stop speaking. You need to pause for a moment and acknowledge your audience’s reaction. You can do this in a lot of different ways – visually with a facial expression is the simplest. Once you’ve done this, you can then resume speaking.
What All Of This Means For You
I almost hate to say this, but giving a speech is a little bit like having a job. The reason that you are willing to stand up in front of a group of people is not that you’ll get paid for it (although you might), but rather because you want to make a connection with your audience and share with them the benefits of public speaking that will cause them to go out and change the world.
In order to make this happen, you are going to have to take the time to make your audience really want to hear what you are going to be telling them. In order to make this happen you are going to have to tease them with your message – make them want it before you give it to them. While you are delivering your speech, you need to make sure to talk to everyone in your audience. This means that you need to look everyone in the eye and not favor one side of the room over the other. Finally, as you deliver your speech your audience will react to what you are saying. You need to be sure to react to their reactions.
The great thing about giving a speech is that we truly do have a chance to change the world every time we speak. However, if we’re going to make that happen we need to take the time to find ways to connect with our audience. Use the suggestions that we’ve just covered when you are giving your next speech and you just might be amazed at how much of a difference they make!
Question For You: When you are teasing your audience with your message, how long do you thing you can tease them before you deliver?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Every time that we give a speech we need to realize the importance of public speaking and that we have an opportunity to become a better speaker. However, if we don’t take the time to study how our speech goes or how our audience reacts to what we are telling them, then we run the risk of missing an opportunity to become better. The key to this kind of improvement is awareness – our ability to spot any mistakes that we’re making.