From a single person to a crowd as big as the fans in the Super
Bowl, speaking in front of a serious listening audience is the true
test and baptism of fire.
Despite this, audiences are predictable. Audiences listen to you
because they want to learn something from the speaker.
Following this logic, the speaker would do well to follow the
strategy of making it informative as well as interesting to
listeners to see your speech through till the end.
Here are some tips on how you can have the audience listen in
1. Speak according to the listenersí interests. It is always
a good idea to find out what the crowd you are speaking to is
interested in. For example, if you have more teenagers in the crowd,
you donít really want to talk about your subject in a way that bores
them, like good education. Other aspects to consider would be the
local culture, age, sports, religious inclinations, etc. Talk about
whatís important to them, something they can easily relate to
without a stretch of imagination.
2. Praise the audience. Audiences are human too, and each and
every one of them has a need to be acknowledged as much as you want
to be acknowledged for speaking well in front of them. There is only
one requirement for this maxim, that your praise be one hundred
percent sincere. Anything less and youíll have resentment in your
3. Connect with the audience. Find a common thread that makes
the audience relate to you, and youíll find that the speech will
come through really well. Finding a common thread humanizes you and
the speech. It makes them want to listen to you because it may in
some way be of great benefit to them.
4. Have the audience participate. Get somebody to come
onstage and participate in a demonstration. Ask questions of the
audience. Get feedback. Encourage them to walk up to the microphone
and give you a piece of their mind. The point is to involve the
audience, once more, making it more real to them. Taking them along
with you in your experience.
5. Less you, more them. Play yourself down. Nobody,
especially an audience, likes to be lectured to. This will cause
resentment that will last a long time. Never feel that you are above
them. The better way to think about your audience would be that you
care about their welfare. Think of yourself as their best friend,
and more often than not, this will hold you in good stead.
Public Speaking for Small Business Owners blog