Are You a Friendly Speaker?
“Don’t wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.”– Author Unknown
People buy products from, listen to, and engage with friendly speakers.
As a speaker, you are always trying to engage better with your audience. Your audience will be more attracted to you and engage more with you if they like you. If your audience likes you, they will part with their money, time, and opinions. It’s as simple as that!
You will do more for your speaking if you show a genuine interest in your audience. Remember, your presentation is for your audience, not for you. Make it memorable to your audience. Make it an experience they will not forget soon. Transform their thinking.
One of the best ways to do this is to be a friendly speaker.
Now, how do you do this? Read on.
Greet Your Audience Before Your Presentation
One of the best ways to become a friendly speaker happens before delivering your presentation.
Arrive an hour before your presentations and stand at the door where your audience will enter. Greet everyone as each audience member comes into the room and honestly thank them for coming. After all, without an audience, you have no presentation.
Ask them, “Why did you come?” “What are you expecting?” “What do you hope to learn from the presentation?” The answers to these questions are potent cues on what you should emphasize in your presentation.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale of The Power of Positive Thinking fame attended a dinner in New York City. He was sitting at the head table next to a woman he did not know. Dr. Peale started asking her questions like her connection to the dinner, where she lived, and if she had any children. In other words, he made the women and not himself the focus of the conversation. After the dinner was over, she remarked to a mutual friend what a great conversationalist Dr. Peale was even though the woman talked about her life the whole time.
People are interested in people who are interested in them. It’s that simple.
Speakers who remain on the podium while their audience is streaming in the presentation room are bypassing one of the best opportunities he or she will have to engage with their audience. Greet your audience before you even give your presentation. You will uncover valuable information to cover.
Engaging with your audience before your presentation is a wise thing to do. Another smart thing to do is be yourself during your presentation.
Be Yourself During Your Presentation
You will be the most credible to your audience if you just be yourself during your presentation.
Tell relevant, personal stories from your life.
Unless the presentation is about a somber subject, and most presentations are not, use humor to lighten your presentation. However, make the humor about yourself. Audiences love self-deprecating humor. The considerable benefit of this kind of humor is it is almost impossible to insult anyone in your audience. Many a speaker has regretted telling a humorous story at someone else’s expense. At the same time, don’t make your presentations, just funny stories about yourself. Your stories should support your main points, not become your main points.
Be yourself also means telling the audience what your thoughts are on the subject. It is OK to “sprinkle” some quotes and maybe one relevant story about someone else, but keep it to a minimum. Your audience came to hear your thoughts on your topic, not someone else’s.
The most significant benefit of being yourself during your presentation is you come across friendlier to your audience. Remember, audiences that like you more are more attentive to your message, and retain more from your presentation. You will have the time of your life also!
Greeting your audience before your presentation and being yourself during your presentation are great ways to be friendlier to your audience.
Another great way is to encourage questions during and after your presentation.
Speaking has been described as having a conversation with your audience. People love having conversations. You can make the conversation with your audience richer by encouraging questions during and after your presentation.
Why is this important? It is essential because when you get questions from the audience and answer them concisely, cogently, and courteously, you draw the audience closer to you? A great added benefit is learning a little more about what is essential to your audience.
Many speakers ask the audience to hold their questions until the presentation. If you do, you will be passing up another opportunity to engage with your audience.
There are three great reasons to encourage your audience to ask questions during and after your presentation. They are:
Questions from your audience during your presentation are great feedback for you. It allows you to adjust your presentation on the spot if the audience is interested in a different aspect of your topic which you were not going to cover.
Human beings are curious creatures. When you allow a free flow of questions, you satisfy one of the most basic needs of human beings – to be heard and understood. Don’t deprive your audience of fulfilling this need. Don’t deprive yourself of the benefits.
It is not possible to anticipate what is vital to every audience member. Questions from your audience give you clues about what is important to them and what is not. The genuinely great speakers know when to shift the emphasis of their presentation to fit their particular audience.
Greeting your audience before your presentation, being yourself during your presentations, and encouraging questions during and after your presentation are great ways to be friendlier to your audience.
Audiences are attracted to and engage with speakers who are friendly toward them.
Wouldn’t you rather listen to a friendly person?
Call to Action
Make a point in your next presentation to arrive an hour early, greet your audience at the door, ask them questions about why they came and what they hope to get out of the presentation, and smile when they answer.
You are an expert at being yourself. Be yourself in all your future presentations and see how the audience engages with you and the fun you have.
Encourage questions from the audience during and after your presentation, read the clues the questions unveil as to what is vital to your audience, and adjust your presentation to what your audience wants and needs to hear.
“Be friendly to everyone. Those who deserve it the least, need it the most”– Bo Bennett, American businessman
Introducing a new book from Frank DiBartolomeo!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”
DiBartolomeo Consulting International’s (DCI) mission is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence.
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