4 Ways to Lose an Audience
You are probably thinking “I don’t want to lose my audience, tell me how I can keep them engaged.” Yes, keeping your audience engaged is important and you will learn more about how to do that in later weeks. However, it is just as important to know the habits or actions that negatively impact your audience as they are often overlooked.
Mark Brown, 1995 World Champion of Public Speaking, says that understanding these mistakes can spare you, the speaker, “from the discomfort, pain and embarrassment of losing your audience”. This week’s tip is adapted from his training on this topic.
Here are the top 4 mistakes presenters make.
1) Lack of Clear Message. If you are not clear about your message neither will your audience be. Making statements that are random, unrelated or that have no clearly defined point will cause your audience to get confused and disinterested. Similarly, if you share stats and facts that have no obvious relevance to your point then you leave your audience feeling disconnected or scattered. If it takes work to figure out what you are saying, the audience will check out mentally and even physically.
2) Lack of Sustained Eye Contact. I believe this is one of the most critical mistakes that most presenters make. Far too many go through their messages and presentations either looking down, at a screen or somewhere off in the distance behind the audience. The eyes are the most important tool to make a connection, whether in a one on one conversation, a business meeting or from the platform. If you are uncomfortable making eye contact , I encourage you to hire a coach and learn to get comfortable. Do whatever it takes to overcome the blocks and acquire the confidence to engage in more meaningful connections.
3) Speaking Tone, Volume and Speed. At times you may experience fear or nervousness before or during your presentation. It is especially important to be aware of how you show up in tone, volume and dynamism. If you speak in a monotone voice throughout your presentation then you will eventually lose your audience. Similarly, if you speak too quickly or too quietly you may leave your audience feeling disconnected. They will be so focused on figuring out what you just said that they will not be able to keep up. It is actually much harder to re-gain your audience’s interest then to maintain it throughout.
4) Promoting yourself as the expert. Masterful speakers realize that in order to make a meaningful connection with any audience you need to make yourself similar and not the star. To establish credibility, you do want to make your expertise known. The most effective way to do that is through storytelling or client testimonials. In business presentations this can be more challenging because you are getting paid to promote the service or expertise. However, I want to encourage you to promote the results before the service and people will be drawn to the benefits they receive from working with you.
This week, pick one of the above four areas and intentionally take a step of action to grow in that area. Remember, even the smallest adjustment can make the biggest difference!
See you next week!
Keep letting the REAL U…..Speak Through!
Lisa Vanderkwaak M.Sc.
Certified World Class Speaking Coach
REAL U Institute™
“Equipping you to Communicate with Passion, Purpose and Transformational Impact”
To book Lisa to speak at your next group training or as a Keynote, contact her at www.REALUInstitute.com