Wednesday, September 8, 2010

From One to One Thousand: How to Make Your Audience Love You!

No one really cares how much you know until they see how much you care...

“Communication is not a skill. It is THE skill.” Harry Beckwith, The Invisible Touch

You’re a boss, a leader, a minister, a motivational speaker, or a volunteer for your civic group. You need to make a presentation. And you really have something valuable to share. At least, you think so. But do you even know what your audience is hoping to get from you? Or are you so concerned about yourself and your message that you forget why you’re standing in front of us in the first place?

Here’s what we want from you and if you get these right, we’ll pretty much do as you want us to:
  • Grab our attention. Make a connection. Entertain, but no jokes! Speak to us as individuals; make it personal, even if it’s business. 
  • Be believable. Be The Expert. Have something important or noteworthy to share with us or don’t waste our time. We can always read a book if we have to so be credible.
  • Make certain you know who we are. Gear your presentation to THIS audience. Nothing canned. Discover our language and connect with us in it. Let us know you care about us. We can always tell if you're bluffing.
  • Be substantive—no fluff, even if it’s PowerPoint! Give us something we can use right away. Make it new. Provide answers and solutions.
  • Make yourself and your message memorable; hit us with an impact. Don’t take us for granted. And once you've made your presentation, be available for questions or comments. Don't just up and leave.     
If you are going to take the time and expend the energy to stand in front of us to give what you have to offer, you can make our lives better—no matter the message—by remembering one thing:

Your audience—one or one thousand—is made up of individuals who are always wondering 

“What’s in it for me?”

If you keep that in mind as you prepare to step in front of us, we will welcome you with open arms. Forget that, and you’re toast.

“To attain excellence, you must care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical. “ Anon.

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