When you deliver a speech you have three objectives: to share massive value, to keep the audience engaged and to come home with clients.
Your ability to connect with your audience is key, because if the audience does not feel connected to you they will not be interested in working with you as a coach.
Your audience will forgive almost anything if they feel you care about them and their needs, and if they perceive you to be 100% “with” them. Not above them, not below them, not on a different planet, not in your head –– “with” them.
There are eight factors involved in creating a strong connection with the audience. They are eye contact, breathing, pausing, pacing and holding the space.
1. Eye Contact
When you first get up to start your presentation, take at least five seconds to look at each member of the audience (if it is a small group), and feel their interest and support before you begin speaking.
When opening to a very large audience look in each direction- front and center, to the left in the front, to the right in the front, to the center towards the back of the room and also to the left and right toward the back of the audience.
In some situations there could be lighting that interferes with you actually seeing the people in your audience still you want to go through this process even when you can not see the people you are speaking to.
During your presentation maintain eye contact at all times with the people in the audience. Refrain from looking above the heads of the audience members, or at the walls, the floor and the ceiling.
When using visuals, pause, look at the visuals for a moment, and then resume eye contact with audience members. Do not give your eye contact to your slides or drawings as if they were your audience.
When making eye contact, complete a whole statement while looking into the eyes of an individual audience member. Once you have completed your thought, look at a different audience member and make eye contact.
Breathe deeply and often; speak in short sentences so you are able to breathe and project easily.
Consciously extend your breath all the way down into the ground- meaning do not take short breathes take deep breathes that expand your belly all the way to the bottom of your stomach.
Do not be afraid of a moment of silence between sentences.
Pauses are the key to holding the attention of the audience while presenting, prefacing a response to a question, or before making an important statement.
Pauses make the audience listen harder. Pausing allows the audience to process your last statement and stay mentally with you.
It is important to get comfortable with moments of silence. The untrained speaker fills this time with speech fillers or phrases that diminish the power of your program.
As important as it is to become comfortable with pausing is the need for you to become aware of the pace of your presentation.
It is quite common that when someone is nervous they speed up the rate at which they speak until to the listener they sound like a sped up record on a phonograph with all the words coming together.
When presenting you actually want to speak a bit slower then you normally do in daily conversation.
This will help with your audience’s comprehension of your words.
It also adds authority and credibility.
5. Holding the Space
Before you begin speaking, stand still and imagine roots coming out of the bottoms of your feet into the ground.
Exaggerate your posture slightly by pressing your shoulders back to open up your lungs. Imagine your energy going into the whole audience so that every audience member can feel your energy.
When you begin speaking, move slightly toward the individuals you are looking at in the audience. Remind yourself to send your energy out throughout your program.
6. Eliminate Unnecessary Speech Fillers
Speech fillers are sounds, words or phrases that distract the audience, make you appear ill prepared and can send the message that you are not fully competent.
Fillers include “such as,” “so,” ” like,” “um,” “and, ” “ah,” “o.k.” “gee”, “um, ” “well,” “you know”, “anyway,” “its kind-a- like.” Using speech fillers distracts the listener from your program and makes your presentation less impactful.
Listen to people give a speech or an interview on television or the radio. Listen for the speech filler sounds words or phrases. Notice how they impact the effectiveness of the speaker.
7. Speak with Certainty and Enthusiasm
Certainty is the internal belief that you have the answer, emphasized through your speaking voice. Enthusiasm is the fun, excitement, volume and energy that comes through your voice when you speak.
If you are not excited about your products or services you cannot expect any one else to be. If you do not convey a sense of certainty no one will want to do business with you.
8. Involve the Audience
As much as you possibly can, personalize your presentation. Make references to discussions you have had with people in the room.
Ask the audience questions, use volunteers from the audience the more involved the audience is in your program the more engaged they will be.
Follow these eight steps to connecting with an audience and you will find people on the edge of their seats every time.
The more you focus on connecting with your audience the better you will get and the more connected you are the more you will find that people want to take advantage of what your offering and become your coaching client.
Get started upgrading your speaking today and you will find your coaching practice full tomorrow.
Article by: Caterina Rando – visit her at http://www.soughtafterspeaker.com