Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Public Speaking Techniques - Localized/Personalized Comments

If you plan on making any comments to specific people in the audience or about the location of the presentation, now is the time to do it. Anything you say at this point should be personalized and/or localized and broadly understood.

One of the things I enthusiastically and sincerely say somewhere in the beginning of a talk is, I am so happy to be here. However, that can mean uh-oh, it's pillow time to the audience because everyone says that. What I do is find a reason specific to that group and tell them why I am so happy to be with them. This shows the group that I am thrilled to be with them at that very moment. They can't help but like you a little more because of this simple statement. And you know what? I really am thrilled to be with them. If you aren't really happy, it will show, so don't say this unless you mean it.

Another thing I let the audience know even before the talk starts is that I am a giving and helpful person. There is nothing hidden. I do this as I'm walking around talking to people before the program. I'll say to most everyone, Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. Saying this sincerely to a person in your audience is a quick way to build rapport. You will have instant friends in the audience who are less likely to nod off.

If you have a head table, a joke on one of the persons up there with you will work. Audiences like to be able to see the reaction of that person. Make sure you clear it with your target first. If you tell a joke on someone at the head table and he or she doesn't laugh, the audience will not laugh either. This will put a damper on the rest of your talk. Also, if you have four vice-presidents of a company at the head table and you only tease two, the other two may be offended. If the CEO, owner, or highest ranking officer is there, joke about that person because BIG targets are the best. I say again, make sure you clear the joke with Mr./Ms. Big first.

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