• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™


Know the one tool to master for online meetings

Know the one tool to master for online meetings 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Recent events prompted millions of people to work from home, a trend that’s likely to continue indefinitely. We have adapted to conducting business from our homes, rather than our offices. During that time, some standards have relaxed a bit.

As we isolate toward a healthier tomorrow, we’ll be participating in meetings and classes from home. Our setting comes complete with the sounds that accompany the spaces where we live. To minimize disruption from kids, dogs, trains, emergency vehicles, delivery drivers, appliances, lawnmowers, and other household sounds, be sure to enable your “mute” button until you’re ready to speak. Your colleagues will be grateful.

Two keynote speakers walk into a bar …

Two keynote speakers walk into a bar … 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Some of my favorite speeches include humor. David Sedaris somehow combines just the right words, tone, and facial expression that have made me laugh until tears roll down my cheeks.

When used properly, humor allows us to connect with one another. It lightens the mood when the topic is serious. It helps us remember key points.

As a speaker, you can use humor in a number of ways: cartoons, anecdotes, personal stories, quotes, or jokes. Some of the best speakers tell stories or jokes that make audiences laugh out loud – but be careful. If you’re not accustomed to using humor, your intentions could backfire.

If possible, test your material on an individual or group that represents your audience, and see if your remarks got the desired result. Did your test audience laugh or cringe? Use that feedback to decide how to proceed.

Our next speaker is …

Our next speaker is … 2560 1440 I Need A Speaker

Speaker introductions do more than tell your audience who you are. Speaker introductions highlight your relevance and credibility, and they set expectations for what your audience may expect to learn or experience.

Effective speaker introductions should be no longer than 100 words and should highlight the most important reasons that you’re the best speaker for that particular occasion, subject, and audience.

Having someone read a list of degrees and publications definitely underscores your status as a subject matter expert, but what’s even more important to audiences is what you’ve done and what you plan to share with them. If you’re speaking about entrepreneurial habits, it’s important to note that you’ve started six successful companies. If you’re discussing techniques for outdoor survival to a group of outdoor enthusiasts, definitely include your outdoor achievements in your narrative speaker bio. You get the idea.

Your audience doesn’t have to know everything about you. They just need to know that you’re qualified, capable, relevant, and excited to share.

Master the one most important element of a great presentation

Master the one most important element of a great presentation 1706 2560 I Need A Speaker

Many people would agree that Michelle Obama is an excellent speaker. Time and again, Michelle relates stories of her childhood, her college years, her marriage, and her relationship with her daughters. The former First Lady openly shares her experiences of stepping into the public spotlight and the pressures (and joys) that accompany her status.

Michelle follows the best practices of public presentation: planning, speaking at an appropriate pace for the audience/occasion, storytelling, pauses, and so on. Yet, perhaps what impacts her audiences most is her ability to make a connection with others.

How can you make a connection with audiences of any size? Whether you’re addressing a group virtually or in person, take some time to think about the audience. What matters to the people in that crowd? What do they think and dream about? What do they care about? What values do they share?

When you craft your remarks around your audience and use anecdotes to share information in a relatable way, you build the connection that makes people remember your speech long after it has ended.

How should I handle nervousness?

How should I handle nervousness? 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Nervousness is often the result of inadequate preparation. Here are some tactics to manage those pre-presentation butterflies:

  • Realize that you have a message to send, and people want to hear it.
  • Outline using the classic format: tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, tell them what you want to tell them, and then tell them what you told them. It keeps you on track, and it helps your audience follow along with strong recall of your main points.
  • Know your material well.
  • Practice as much as necessary to be comfortable with your remarks.
  • Practice a “grounding” tactic. Many people believe that you can condition yourself to feel grounded by repeating a motion frequently while associating it with calmness. This motion may be as simple as pressing your pointer finger and thumb together. The belief is that, if you do it enough and make the association, the motion will bring you calmness in times of stress.
  • Still nervous? Take a short walk, reviewing key points and releasing energy as you stroll.

Remember: You’ve got this!

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