What's best for the audience?

Speak Schmeak

While discussing audience engagement strategies the other day, a client suggested that these strategies might not work for her kinds of audiences, especially at scientific conferences, where there are standard protocols. We were speaking specifically about opening a presentation with something other than the obligatory five minutes of thank yous and credentials, instead using perhaps a question or a story to kick things off.

Do you make your audience feel stupid?

Speak Schmeak

The author was describing how he had reinvigorated his business as the speaking market had changed along with the economy. Written by someone who's supposed to know that it's all about the audience. Do you know if your audience even understands what you're saying? And to be honest, your audience might not ask. Speak plain English to your audiences. I'm sure you hear these presentations all the time, and they have absolutely no impact on your audience.

2010 153
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Three tips for directing your audience's response

Speak Schmeak

Have you ever asked your audience a question, only to be bombarded with personal stories and responses that shifted the direction of where you wanted to go? Audience involvement is a critical part of any presentation. Allowing the audience to share their knowledge and experience benefits both the audience and the speaker; the audience learns from each other, and the speaker learns from the audience. Share your tips for directing your audience's response!

Direct 150

Do you make your audience feel stupid?

Speak Schmeak

The author was describing how he had reinvigorated his business as the speaking market had changed along with the economy. Written by someone who's supposed to know that it's all about the audience. Do you know if your audience even understands what you're saying? And to be honest, your audience might not ask. Speak plain English to your audiences. I'm sure you hear these presentations all the time, and they have absolutely no impact on your audience.

2010 130

Don't lose yourself in the adoration of the audience

Speak Schmeak

The judges' criticisms stemmed from their belief that Kent was too busy playing to the audience and not demonstrating authenticity in his performance. Nigel Lythgoe said, "You are starting to become a little fake in your performance.you have a magical quality and you love playing to the audience, but if you start faking your performance, that will get you into trouble with the viewers. Please be careful, and don't lose yourself in the adoration of the audience."

2010 140

The audience doesn't need to know

Speak Schmeak

One thing I've learned over my many years of speaking and before that, performing: The show must go on ! You suck it up and give the audience your all. This post was inspired by my Twitter friend, paramedic, speaker and trainer Greg Friese , who asked if I told the audience, and how do I feel, in general, about such qualifying statements. In conversation with the organizer, I mentioned my lack of sleep, but did I tell the audience?

2010 136

What's best for the audience?

Speak Schmeak

While discussing audience engagement strategies the other day, a client suggested that these strategies might not work for her kinds of audiences, especially at scientific conferences, where there are standard protocols. We were speaking specifically about opening a presentation with something other than the obligatory five minutes of thank yous and credentials, instead using perhaps a question or a story to kick things off.

The audience can sense your guilt

Speak Schmeak

I've written before about apologizing or qualifying at the beginning of a presentation, and how it does nothing to benefit you or the audience when there's nothing to apologize for. The audience can sense that, too! How can you hold your head high and speak with conviction when you feel so guilty about what you're saying? The audience will sense your discomfort, and you can't expect them to feel good about your message if you don't.

2010 126

Missed your audience's boat?

Speak Schmeak

Sometimes it's hard to read the audience. But the truth is, sometimes we get a puzzling response from the audience, and it has nothing to do with our content or delivery. The staff felt pressure to put forth a more professional image, do more public speaking, and represent the company on a larger scale. Over a week went by before we were able to speak again, and in that week, I worried and fretted.

Missed your audience's boat?

Speak Schmeak

Sometimes it's hard to read the audience. But the truth is, sometimes we get a puzzling response from the audience, and it has nothing to do with our content or delivery. The staff felt pressure to put forth a more professional image, do more public speaking, and represent the company on a larger scale. Over a week went by before we were able to speak again, and in that week, I worried and fretted.

Are you a good audience member?

Speak Schmeak

Most of my tips are for speakers, but from time to time I also like to encourage the audience to step up their "audience-member" skills. Here's a perfect example of how you, as an audience member, can help the speaker do a better job: Learn your Q&A etiquette! These tips are from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project website, and if you follow them, you will not only help the speaker, but will avoid annoying the rest of the audience.

2010 100

3 tips for when an audience member dominates Q&A

Speak Schmeak

How many times have you sat in the audience during the Q&A portion of a presentation (either live or on the Web or phone), and felt frustrated by one audience member dominating the questions? Either way, the speaker is not taking charge of the situation, leaving the rest of the audience, also with questions, tapping their feet, looking at the clock, and feeling ignored. Let the audience member know that you hear him and that you value what he has to say.

Q&A 122

Don't lose yourself in the adoration of the audience

Speak Schmeak

The judges' criticisms stemmed from their belief that Kent was too busy playing to the audience and not demonstrating authenticity in his performance. Nigel Lythgoe said, "You are starting to become a little fake in your performance.you have a magical quality and you love playing to the audience, but if you start faking your performance, that will get you into trouble with the viewers. Please be careful, and don't lose yourself in the adoration of the audience."

2010 100

The audience doesn't need to know

Speak Schmeak

One thing I've learned over my many years of speaking and before that, performing: The show must go on ! You suck it up and give the audience your all. This post was inspired by my Twitter friend, paramedic, speaker and trainer Greg Friese , who asked if I told the audience, and how do I feel, in general, about such qualifying statements. In conversation with the organizer, I mentioned my lack of sleep, but did I tell the audience?

2010 100

The audience can sense your guilt

Speak Schmeak

I've written before about apologizing or qualifying at the beginning of a presentation, and how it does nothing to benefit you or the audience when there's nothing to apologize for. The audience can sense that, too! How can you hold your head high and speak with conviction when you feel so guilty about what you're saying? The audience will sense your discomfort, and you can't expect them to feel good about your message if you don't.

2010 100

Curling with kisses: How a teacher engages the audience

Speak Schmeak

Couturier) who, when our class was scheduled before lunchtime, would go with us to the dining hall and have us all sit together speaking Spanish for the duration of the period. Engaging the Audience Science and Scientists Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Analogies

Curling with kisses: How a teacher engages the audience

Speak Schmeak

Couturier) who, when our class was scheduled before lunchtime, would go with us to the dining hall and have us all sit together speaking Spanish for the duration of the period. Tags: Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Analogies "When Santa Barbara Junior High School science teacher Marilyn Garza watched curling for the first time during the Winter Olympics, she saw an avenue for teaching her students about friction and gravitational forces.

Create a new world with each presentation

Speak Schmeak

I wrote a post asking " Who's in the audience and why should I care? " a while back, about doing research on your audience beforehand, so you can give the best value and tailor your talk to that group. But there's a lot about your audience that you could never find out from an organizer. You aren't doing enough to keep the audience's attention. Things are going on in your audience's lives that are affecting them at every moment.

2010 148

The best comedy comes from real life

Speak Schmeak

I think that when you talk about something that really happened, whether you make it a caricature of what happened, or whatever, but it is a version of the truth, you connect with the audience in a way that you cannot with contrived material." ~ Comedian Robert Schimmel, I Am Comic documentary What Schimmel is saying does not just apply to comedians. The easiest way to make less-than-engaging topics more palatable for the audience is to insert some humor from real life.

2010 146

Be the guy no one wants to speak after

Speak Schmeak

We've all been in that position, feeling intimidated because we don't think we can possibly live up to the audience's standards of great presenting after THAT GUY speaks. Be the one that no one wants to speak after. Stop whining that you don't want to speak after THAT GUY. Tags: Speakers Engaging the Audience Pet Peeves Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Taking Risks TEDxSB Authenticity

2010 138

Stop making excuses for your data dump

Speak Schmeak

Rosling does it all: He delivers meaningful content, making it engaging and easy to understand for everyone in the audience. It's what you do with the numbers that makes the presentation effective -- or makes it just another "data dump" that puts your audience to sleep and doesn't teach them anything. I want you to take some time to think about what your core message is and what your audience hopes to get out of your presentation.

2010 136

Be humble

Speak Schmeak

Just remember: Without the audience, there is no speaker. Without an audience, you do not exist. You need the audience as much as they need you. Keep focusing on being the best you can be and paying attention to the audience's needs, wants and interests. Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies The Business of Speaking AuthenticityYou may have a lifetime of experience as a speaker. You may be THE expert in your field.

2010 141

Five ways to say "I don't know"

Speak Schmeak

Make use of present experts "I see that Janie Expert is in the audience. Ask the audience "I have some thoughts on that topic, but I'm also wondering what others in the audience are thinking about this." Tags: Preparation Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Public Speaking Anxiety Something that trips up a lot of inexperienced speakers is the fear of "I don't know."

2010 156

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Guest Post by Irene Brennick

Speak Schmeak

If we want our audience to remember what we’ve talked about, or if we need to convey a message in a short amount of time, simple visuals can really do the job. I faced the audience and showed them the stem. Irene is the author of Bring Your Audience to Their Feet. Tags: Speakers Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Analogies I hope you're all enjoying a lovely three-day weekend.

2010 130

Get out of the cage and own the stage!

Speak Schmeak

Eyes down or looking at a place between speaker and audience 3. In putting their attention out to the room, out to the audience, they became connected with the audience. The other group of speakers gave more attention to the space immediately surrounding them and their notes, therefore closing off the energy to the rest of the room and creating an invisible barrier between them and the audience. Finally, give your attention to the audience.

Stage 132

Five ways to avoid reading from your slides

Speak Schmeak

How can you keep the audience's attention, not get sucked into reading from the slides, and make this presentation your own? In fact, it's preferable that your notes are not tied to the computer or slides, but on a separate piece of paper or cards, so that you can move freely and interact with the audience. Use your own notes and your flip chart to write down any audience contributions. Tags: Pet Peeves Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies PowerPoint

2010 159

An aha moment

Speak Schmeak

I like this concept both as a speaker and as an audience member. As an audience member, I look for aha moments provided by speakers with great insight and passion. Your stories may not bring tears to your audiences' eyes, but can be authentic and powerful in their own way. Stories Engaging the Audience TV inspired Panic attack series Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies AuthenticityI love this series of commercials for Mutual of Omaha.

Omaha 116

An aha moment

Speak Schmeak

I like this concept both as a speaker and as an audience member. As an audience member, I look for aha moments provided by speakers with great insight and passion. Your stories may not bring tears to your audiences' eyes, but can be authentic and powerful in their own way. Tags: Stories Engaging the Audience TV inspired Panic attack series Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Authenticity I love this series of commercials for Mutual of Omaha.

Omaha 116

How to go from boring to bravo

Speak Schmeak

During a presentation you are delivering to customers, co-workers or cohorts, you can’t afford to have your audience disengage – or worse – walk out. While it will always be easier to recite information (one way) than it is to make an engaging speech (two way) presentation that connects with your audience, today’s audiences are demanding more engagement and interaction. It all depends on your topic, your audience, and how much time you have.

2010 126

The Gettysburg Address: An Analysis

Manner of Speaking

Today, 19 November 2010, marks the 147th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 1863. In a speech that was comprised of only 10 sentences and 272 words, Lincoln was able to strike a chord that would resonate not only with his audience, but one that would resonate through time. Lincoln reminds the audience of the basis on which the country was founded: liberty and equality. Repetition is an essential aspect of great public speaking.

If George Lucas designed your presentation

Speak Schmeak

So it's this simple little thing, but what it meant was the story point would go into movie and the audience doesn't know or care about it. Tags: Technology TV inspired Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Graphics PowerPoint Entertainers In the documentary, "Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible," the birth of the modern special effects industry is celebrated.

Design 154

Dan likes to teach

Speak Schmeak

Technology Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies The Business of Speaking Fun StuffHere's a short and sweet video by Dan Meyer , sharing his process of evolving from a lecture-based educator to an interactive facilitator. His use of images and graphics is creative and fun. Don't you wish you had had Dan for your high school math teacher? I know I could have benefited from his teaching philosophy!

2010 100

Stop making excuses for your data dump

Speak Schmeak

Rosling does it all: He delivers meaningful content, making it engaging and easy to understand for everyone in the audience. It's what you do with the numbers that makes the presentation effective -- or makes it just another "data dump" that puts your audience to sleep and doesn't teach them anything. I want you to take some time to think about what your core message is and what your audience hopes to get out of your presentation.

2010 122

Why be okay when you can be great?

Speak Schmeak

And after the presentation, several people mentioned that they felt he was speaking directly to their lives. We should never get complacent just because we speak a lot, have confidence and can whip out something in a few minutes. Even if you asked to speak off the cuff , you should be able to write down a point or two on a napkin to mentally ready yourself. If you are NOT a last-minute replacement, then you have no excuse not to give the audience your best.

2010 147

Are you too dependent on your co-presenter?

Speak Schmeak

I'm seriously concerned about a whole generation of new presenters who have never stood in front of an audience alone without their PowerPoint partner. I asked someone, who's new to speaking, how long her typical presentations are and she replied, "Eight slides." If your only presentation experience is speaking with a slide show behind you, I highly recommend finding ways to practice speaking without it. Learn how to educate and inform an audience without slides.

2010 149

If nothing else, be original

Speak Schmeak

I was browsing a public speaking coach's Facebook page today (no, you don't know her). Now, to be fair, I haven't heard her speak, so I don't know what kind of material she delivers to an audience. You aren't going to make an impact on your audience, so why waste their time and your own? That's what audiences want to hear. Audiences don't appreciate giving up their time (and sometimes money) to listen to regurgitated, boring content.

2010 138

More fun with 30-second commercials

Speak Schmeak

And Ginny Milhoan, chiropractor, used a little topical humor when she suggested that our necks might be hurting because we're worried about whether we can pay our taxes -- and that she could take away that stress with her non-force adjustment technique. I had a couple of audience plants who played along with my corny handshake demonstrations. Tags: Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies

2010 122

Speaking from a script doesn't have to sound scripted

Speak Schmeak

Or you may choose to use a script when your audience can't see you; for example, when you're giving a webinar. Write like you speak, don't speak like you write. Writing and speaking are two different languages. If you speak like you write, you will most likely come across as though you are reading from a tome, and not in a good way. As such, it must be written as though you are speaking, not spoken as though it were writing.

2010 150

Be the guy no one wants to speak after

Speak Schmeak

We've all been in that position, feeling intimidated because we don't think we can possibly live up to the audience's standards of great presenting after THAT GUY speaks. Be the one that no one wants to speak after. Stop whining that you don't want to speak after THAT GUY. Speakers Engaging the Audience Pet Peeves Products Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Taking Risks Authenticity

2010 116

Four lessons for speakers -- from Broadway

Speak Schmeak

So the audience sees that you have notes. As long as you integrate your tools and don't blow your cool if something goes wrong, the audience will be fine with seeing the strings and gears of your presentation. Don't let your visuals overwhelm you or the audience. Both of these songs have elements that might surprise and even shock the audience, because they're saying things that people often think, but would never say out loud. Download audio here.

2010 127

Where was this commercial during the Super Bowl?

Speak Schmeak

Tags: Engaging the Audience TV inspired Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Fun Stuff

2010 116

9 ways to act like a pro, even if you're not

Speak Schmeak

If you want to get speaking engagements to promote your business, for example, you are more likely to be invited if you have a professional presence. Post your photo on your website People who will ask you to speak want to get to know you a little. In order to make your presentation as effective as it can be for you and for the audience, you must speak up and let the organizer know what you need. That's all your audience wants. Audience is casual?

2010 150

Dan likes to teach

Speak Schmeak

Tags: Technology Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies The Business of Speaking Fun Stuff

2010 100