Secrets of Public Speaking No. 1 :: Respect Your Audience

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In public speaking, if you exclude people, you’re not very smart at your job. Knowing your audience and — more than that — respecting your audience is crucial to your presentation's success.

Get the attendee list prior to speaking (include this as a clause in your contract, if you need to, so that it happens) and learn who will be in the room. Do your homework and look up people in the audience — who they are, what they do and what they’ve accomplished. Look them up on social media to get an idea of their personality and the things that make them tick. Yes, this is more work and requires extra time, but I guarantee it will pay off in the long run.

I’ve sat in on too many talks where the speaker has insulted the people in the room because he or she hasn't bothered to learn or respect the intelligence of the audience.

By the way — and this is especially true in the wedding industry — showing your portfolio on stage is disrespectful to the audience. No one cares and all it communicates is insecurity on your part. We know you’re talented and we want to learn what that talent has taught you. No one is paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a conference or workshop to see on stage what they could see by looking at your website. Share information that helps solve their problems, not information that boosts your ego.

No one cares how good you are, they care how good you make them. You can’t help people be better if you don’t first know who they are.

Originally published January 2015

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