In the earliest days of our lives, we were entirely dependent on others for the resources we needed. And from those early beginnings, the deep attunement to others that we learnt so acutely, stays with us throughout our lives.
And so we love to connect. And we’re good at it.
But under the pressures of public speaking, it can be a different story. And making that connection (that comes so easily to us when our audience numbers one) becomes a special challenge.
So here are 9 ways to establish your natural affinity with a larger audience.
Come into my zone
To prepare to make the connection, it’s useful to think about our communication spaces.
- Zone 1. The space that’s personal to us. Our private space.
- Zone 2. The space between us. Where conversation happens.
- Zone 3. The space beyond us. Where we have to shout. Where we have intrude on another person’s local space.
That intermediate space of Zone 2 is where we want to be. And where we want our audience to be. And so we need to step out of our personal Zone 1 space and into that middle ground of Zone 2; and then ask our audience to join us there. Here’s how.
1. It’s not about you
We all want to be listened to, engaged, welcomed and valued. First rule: make it all about you audience.
2. And it’s not about them
Your audience is not just a mass of people. It’s a group of individuals. No plurals. Make a connection with the individual.
3. Find your empathy
You’re giving this talk for one of two reasons: to sell or to motivate. In either case, they’ll be an elephant in the room. Deal with it cleanly, openly and with empathy.
4. Establish equality
Status is a crucial social domain for the brain. Make your audience feel special, whilst respecting yourself and your message.
5. One authentic message
No mixed messages. And your one message must be yours.
6. One thought per person
Remember: you’re speaking to a collection of individuals. So one idea per person. Straight between the eyes.
7. Listen to your audience
Show a genuine interest in your audience. Allow them time and space to join the conversation. If you ask them a question – let them respond. And let them have their choice to agree or disagree.
8. Stop justifying
You’ll bring far more conviction to your argument if you slow down, say less and stop justifying. So just say it!
9. Smile and enjoy it
Don’t take yourself too seriously: develop a sense of humour! Enjoy being up there. And give them that all-important “twinkle in the eye” smile.
Making the connection
Great public speaking is: a powerful message; delivered in a conversational way; by your authentic self. Amplify your impact by focusing on that deep connection we’re otherwise all experts at creating.