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.
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.
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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