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Do you really know your audience and how they react to your speaking? This is the quality of Empathy, one of the six qualities of an Inspiring Speaker that you can find in the newest edition of my book "How To Be Brilliant At Public Speaking".
A big part of what we do when we speak publicly is develop a relationship with our audience. A relationship based on trust, respect, information, and interaction! Sure a speech has mostly been defined as one person talking and other people listening. But it always takes two to tango… you know. You AND your audience have a part to play in this engagement.
One of the top fears public speakers have is that their audience won’t like them. Whilst it’s terrifying to think of yourself standing in front of a group of people who are mentally throwing daggers at you, there are tried and tested ways to get your audience on side.
It’s normal to worry about the audience’s perception of you and your material. After all empathy, one of Ginger’s Six Qualities of an Inspiring Speaker teaches us to not worry about ourselves but focus on how to customize our speech for the audience. And as presenters, we will be much more successful if we design our presentations to adapt to our audiences’ needs. It’s all about what THEY need... even if they are difficult audience members. Here's how to manage them:
Watch out, the circus is in town! Clowns love the social part of listening to a public speaker and this is often more important to them than listening to you. They’re chatty and often offer lively comments and questions to entertain, rather than to support the speaker. At best they’re great fun… but if you’re trying to make a serious point, their hyper energy runs the risk of derailing you.
How to handle a Clown audience type:
Snipers are often switched on and listening out for an opportunity to criticise, or show their expertise in the room. If you have a lot of them in the room, you’ll notice an atmosphere of competition and aggression; individuals trying to win a point or show themselves to be most intelligent. Arms may be folded, or eyes rolled as you start to speak. These difficult fellows start out with a hostile or cynical attitude towards you or your topic and can be very off-putting to speakers..
How to handle a Sniper audience type:
No matter how much you talk to a Snowman (in real life, or in your audience), they won’t respond. Snowmen are often socially anxious and will avoid participating in workshops or interactive parts of speeches. At the same time it’s important to know your audience of snowmen are very aware of how a speaker behaves towards them, even if they struggle to give you eye contact.
How to handle the Snowman audience type:
The Black Cloud is characterised by their negative body language, such as frowning, poor eye contact, folded arms or slumped shoulders. They hold a resigned, ‘can’t-do’ attitude around your subject matter – perhaps thinking that it’s a tricky, boring or irrelevant subject, or thinking that they’ve ‘seen it all before’. If you have an audience full of Black Clouds you’ll notice a thick atmosphere that feels difficult to shift.
How to handle the Black Cloud audience type:
This is the ‘expert’ in the room who hasn’t been asked to present. The Unwanted Panellist tries to add to your knowledge by trying to teach the audience from his or her own experience. This can sometimes be a deliberate attempt to win business or respect from the audience, or it could be a genuine desire to ‘help’. Unwanted Panellists are a potential danger for a speaker’s credibility, but the good news is that your audience probably also see them as irritating, pushy, or distracting.
How to handle the Unwanted Panellist audience type:
If you focus on sharing an authentic message that you believe in no matter what, you’ll find that your audience members WILL connect with you. If you’re true to yourself you will attract the right people who can benefit for your message. And those negative ones… well, they wouldn’t have liked you anyway.
It’s time to rip up the rule book and forget what you think you know about the perils of public speaking.
Whatever the occasion, subject or situation, and with the right advice, anyone can be an entertaining, interesting and inspiring public speaker – you just need to know how.
Using my expert tips, tricks, tools and techniques you’ll quickly develop the six simple qualities necessary to banish your nerves, feel relaxed, connect with your audience and really wow them.
Whether you want to overcome your fears and take that first step, or if you’ve already had some practice and want to polish your performance, Sarah will help you build your confidence to deliver your next talk naturally and with style and sophistication.
Anyone can speak in public – even you. Here’s how to do it brilliantly.
Learn the art of speaking with power and confidence that will allow you to wow your audience, in our free master class video series from Ginger's founder Sarah Lloyd-Hughes.Begin Part 1 Now!