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Establishing an Emotional Connection with Your Audience

When we communicate in public, we have approximately one minute to engage our audience’s attention, establish believability, familiarize them to our topic, and encourage them to listen. As such, establishing an emotional connection with your audience is critical. Here’s what a wise man one said:

If you take care of the beginning, the end will take care of itself ~ Anonymous

If you waste those valuable opening seconds with an irrelevant joke, or an apology your listener’s minds are likely to wander, and you may not get them back. Losing them for 5 seconds is bad enough because it will take them another 10 seconds to catch up with you.

Here are some tips to engage your audience on an emotional level so that you will have their undivided attention throughout your presentation.

Use Emotional Language

Dull timeworn facts seldom excite people into action. Using words that evoke emotions will make a much bigger impression when you speak. There are numerous sentiments you can activate in the audience by using the appropriate choice of words. Delight, rage, sorrow, melancholy are just a few. Knowing your reason for addressing the group will help you to pick which emotions you want to tap. When you know your purpose, choosing the appropriate words to elicit the desired emotional reaction becomes easier. For example, if you desire to take your listeners back to a childhood experience you might say, “Do you recollect the time when your classmate did something bad at school and your teacher caned him in public?” The phrase “caned him in public” would induce an emotional response that many grown-ups can relate to. A “generation Y” audience may not relate to this phrase since corporal punishment is not widely practiced in schools these days. Therefore, it is advisable to pick words that your audience can relate to.

Show Your Vulnerable Side

Many speakers are hesitant to implement this idea because they like to remain detached and supposedly dignified. If you fall in this category, I don’t blame you. You may not know what is appropriate and what is not.

You don’t have to disclose your “skeletons in the closet” when on stage, but you could talk about how much you like dogs, or how you love to play with your children. . .anything that will give them an insight into the “human” side of you. By exposing the “softer” side of you, your audience will develop a stronger bond with you. Once the bond is established, it would be easier for you to influence or inspire your audience effectively.

This concept is also known as establishing common ground with the audience.

Use Jokes

Humour is a potent and effective instrument that gives the audience’s mind an opportunity to breath in the face of heavy material. It also makes you more affable and enjoyable to listen to. When your audience like you, your emotional connection with them becomes stronger. A humorous speech is also more likely to make your information more unforgettable.

There are four basic methods to add humour that don’t necessitate any skill at all. Just remember this acronym; P U U I.
P = puns
U = unexpected twists
U = understatements
I – irony

Just Google for “jokes with puns” or “jokes with irony” and you will get loads of samples with detailed explanation on what a pun or understatement joke is. Similar to props, ensure that your humour relates to the point you are trying to make.

  • Communication tutorial: Building rapport | lynda.com
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    Communication tutorial: Building rapport | lynda.com

Be A Problem Solver

An effective way to make the audience love you is to convey solutions to their difficulties. If you have researched your audience well, you should know what their problems are. It’s your business to suggest solutions for them to try. In modern day rational this is what motivational discourse is all about. No longer is it sufficient to get your listeners all fired up where they are vigorously bouncing off the walls without a hint as to what they will do with this new found enthusiasm and stimulus. Modern skilled motivational speakers bring solutions and a strategy of action to attain them.

Are The Logistics Okay?

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the Kings horses & all the Kings men,
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Take cue from this nursery rhyme.

The best groundwork, rehearsal, and audience study could be ruined if you overlook any details surrounding the logistical arrangements. You want to know what is going to transpire before you speak, and what will occur after you speak: What is the seating arrangement? What kind of microphone will you be using? How big is the screen for the PowerPoint presentation? Will the people be consuming alcohol? Is the lighting sufficient?

These and many other questions will significantly enhance or ruin your presentation.

Remember, the same speech conveyed with significantly dissimilar logistics could be received in an entirely different way. You could even go from a superb evaluation to a “Humpty Dumpty” just because of the way your audience were seated. You need to know the differences and how they will affect your presentation.

Conclusion

Many believe that good public speakers are born, not made. I wish that was true of me. Well, some people are more tranquil and at ease speaking in front of others, and I’m happy for them. Perhaps they have learnt how to establish an emotional connection with themselves first before attempting to do the same with their audience? Now that’s something to ponder upon…

I wish you well in your next presentation 🙂

Liven Your Audience in a Speech Presentation – 3 Ways

Let us explore 3 ways to liven your audience today.

I once encountered an employee who refused a job promotion because the new job required her to speak publicly. If she had accepted the new post, it would have meant a 30% increase in her salary. Nevertheless, her fear of public speaking got the better of her. Today, she remains in her old job, happy, despite having to survive with a low salary 🙂

I am sure you have heard about the old adage that people fear speaking in public more than they fear dying. Before you repeat this phrase to anyone, know the origins of this saying first. A dubious research called the Bruskin Report was done in 1973 on the 14 greatest fears of Americans. Apparently, Americans at that time were most fearful of public speaking. For some strange reason, the findings of this research are still ignorantly repeated by many public speaking trainers until today.

Maybe at that time, dying was an abstract concept and appeared far away while the podium was right in front of them. Nevertheless, if you fear public speaking, you really can “grab the bull by its horns” and maybe you won’t enjoy it, but after a while, you’ll be able to get through it easier. Half of your battle is won if you just knowing what you are going to say, and anticipating what others are going to ask. Simple eh?

Here are 3 ways you could use to liven your audience

Has a boring speaker ever put you to sleep? As a speaker, have you put your audience to sleep? Your head begins to nod as you battle with the urge to slide blissfully into the Land of the Z’s. Has your mind ever wandered aimlessly during someone’s boring presentation? Although you tried to listen intently, what you were really thinking about were the many tasks waiting for you in the office.

Well, this has happened to me too, more than I would like to admit. God knows how many people I’ve put to sleep during my presentations too 🙂

However, prevent it from happening to you when you are the presenter. The key to keeping your audience alert is to involve them in your speech. Oh, yes! Studies have shown that the more you involve your listeners, the more they will be alert. Why? Because your engagement will enable them to absorb your presentation through more than one “sense”. The “sense” I am referring to here is the sense of sound, smell, touch, sight & hopefully taste.

You can involve your listeners in many ways. I have listed 3 of my favorites here. Try them all. Some will work well with your presentation and that feel genuine to you. If it feels uncomfortable, it will look uncomfortable, therefore don’t use it. To a large extent, some of the 5 senses mentioned earlier will be naturally incorporated when you employ these methods.

1. High-five

This is one of my personal favorites but it depends on the seating arrangement & the nature of your speech. If you ever feel like the energy in the room is dull, you can uplift it by employing this technique. Simply ask a question. Ask, “Is this good stuff? Yes or yes?” Your audience will have no choice but to respond with “Yes”. Then say “Then, turn to the person on your left and give them a high-five and shout ‘This is good stuff!’” Most people will enjoy it. However, if you have anyone who does not want to participate, don’t worry about it. They probably have their own reasons and we respect them for their reasons.

In some cultures, women are not allowed to touch a man. Therefore, be sensitive to such situations and use the high-five appropriately. The high-five approach would be most suitable for a persuasive or motivational speech.

2. Do Exercises

I learned this technique from the famous millionaire T. Harv Ecker when I attended his “Millionaire Mind Intensive” workshop. He said, “Let your audience to do some work.” To achieve this, break them into small groups with people that they don’t know and give them a task that is relevant to your presentation. Later, ask them to share their findings with the rest of the group and thank them for doing so.

This method will work fine for workshops that involves small groups of people. You will experience a logistical nightmare if you try this with an audience of more than 50 people. If you really need to do this for large groups, then its best that you have a few assistants to help you.

3. Give Them a Gift

Reward your listeners for participating, and they will be more than happy to participate even more. Simply ask a question and when someone answers it (correctly or otherwise), get the audience to clap as a sign of encouragement. You can go one step further by giving them a gift if you are dealing with a small crowd. I find that chocolate works best. Chocolates have the ability to keep people mentally alert. You will find that it becomes a game and people will compete for the chocolate.

I don’t use this for all my speeches because as I mentioned earlier, it depends on the size of the crowd and seating arrangement.

There are numerous other techniques to prevent your audience from slipping blissfully into the Land of the Z’s. What is paramount is for you to cook up as many different methods as you can imagine that are suitable for your audience and for you as the speaker. Believe me, your audience will thank you for your original creativity.

I wish you well.

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All the best to you in all facets of your life 🙂