My work as a broadcast journalist and blogger with key interest in personal growth and development activities has permitted me to closely follow and monitor what some influential speakers do to stay on top and in fact relevant to their audience.
I have sat in meetings where speakers struggle to connect with their audience even with a great depth of information to share. I have also encountered those with very little new knowledge to share but are able to effectively communicate to their audience and get relevant questions subsequently.
The difference is that there are some fundamental things one group does that separates it from the other and gives them the that extra touch.
Detailed below are some of those ‘extra’ things they do:
1. Make an emotional connection with their audience: Great speakers say they get their best sessions when they are able to connect well with their audience. This usually starts event before the speaker mounts the stage. Some speakers engage in informal conversations and casual talks with their audience during break or before the start of the event to get the sense of what their expectation and their level. Doing this, they are able to find the suitable words and appropriate examples that will get the audience to understand.
Alternatively, the use of stories is helpful. Telling a touching or compelling story is one way to connect with your audience and get you to touch their emotions; get them laughing, sad, passionate or emotional angered.
2. Emphasize who they are: After you have been introduced or called up on stage, let your introduction capture who you are. Let your audience know you are the right person to deliver on the subject. Even though the MC or presenter may have mentioned your name, you need to tell your audience by yourself who you are briefly and especially if there is any relevant detail the MC missed. Remember that your listeners may not remember your name but who you are or what you do so tell them.
3. Display their contacts: It is a good thing to help your audience know where to find you as a public speaker. Indeed, I must say for most Ghanaian speakers I have monitored, this isn’t something they miss. Unfortunately, they do this at the end of their presentation which sometimes mean, it wouldn’t be long on the screen before the next speaker gets introduced and starts his own presentation. What I advice is, put out your content in your introductory slides. You can display it while your ‘informal’ talk or introductory remarks.
You can display your social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram based the one your audience can easily find you on.
4. Keep the main point and tell real stories: It is important to keep the main point in mind and keep hammering on it till you are certain a majority understand it. There is absolutely no point in doing a 30-45 minutes presentation only for your audience to wonder what exactly you were trying to say. Its not just about being eloquent or fluent, but getting the core message out to your audience. You can repeat it during the presentation. Telling real stories that emphasize the main point or makes your point clearer is very helpful. In fact, most people may better recall the story you shared than the message itself or how you delivered it. They can deduce your central point from that story you shared. Make sure your stories are not superficial, because they may end of being too fake to believe or relate with.
5. Stick to their time: There is always that temptation to steal a little more time to speak to your audience while on stage but resist it. Before you walk up to the stage, confirm from your host how many minutes you have been allocated and try to keep within it. You do not necessarily have to exhaust every single slide or every single point in your notepad before your message is understood. Using the inverted pyramid (Explaining the most important or main idea first before the smaller details) can help you give out the best even within a very short time.
You may not know how some listeners easily divert attention away from you simply because they think you are taking too much time. In fact they will rarely pick a point from what you say from that moment because their main concern is how you can round up quickly and move away from stage. You want to be a great speaker, stick to your time!