Monday, June 13, 2011

The all-in-one on engaging your audience: 11 resources for speakers

As soon as you realize that speaking isn't just broadcasting with your voice and a microphone, you begin to consider engaging with audiences, from making them think and getting feedback from them to handling hecklers and simple questions. Here's our best advice on engaging audiences for speakers, from the vaults of The Eloquent Woman:

  1. Start early to engage: Check out your audience at the door suggests you start engaging even before you start your talk.
  2. Even a keynote can engage: Making the audience part of your keynote tells you how to take that big spotlight and share it for even better results.
  3. Are questions getting you off-track? Then you need our graceful ways with Q-and-A to engage, but focus, your audience.
  4. Getting really off-track with a heckler? Handling the heckler looks at some high-profile examples, but brings the advice down to earth for your next speech.
  5. What if you don't get questions? If you want to make your presentations more interactive but don't get questions when you finish, you need to take a second look at your approach.
  6. Speak less to engage: Speakers: 7 reasons I want you to talk less is a warning shot that tells you when your own words might be getting in the way of engaging with your audience.
  7. Listen to the questions: Q-and-A is the most common form of audience engagement. How to listen to audience questions tells you what to do first: Listen.
  8. Engage to persuade: Want to put your points across persuasively? Engaging the audience is at the core of that effort. Persuade me: 21 ways speakers can tells you how, in the voice of an audience member.
  9. Emergency engagement: In my trainings, lots of speakers want to know what to do when you're losing the audience. You might be surprised at my answers.
  10. Use social media tools to engage: Using new media to engage your audience might involve letting them live-tweet, or capturing their questions on video for your own blog post.
  11. Learn from the "Last Lecture:" Randy Pausch knew he was dying when he gave this lecture, full of audience engagement. Thanks to online video, it's one of the most-watched-talks ever, and for a lot of reasons. See what one speaker does when audience engagement is front and center.

Clip to Evernote
Use the Evernote clip button, above, to save this post in an Evernote notebook or open an Evernote account. Go here to subscribe to Step Up Your Speaking, my free email newsletter that looks at a different speaking topic in depth each month...then become a fan of The Eloquent Woman on Facebook and join the conversation with thousands of other women (and men) about public speaking skills and confidence.