50/50: Success isn’t just getting the first part of your speech right. What about the second 50%? [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
French philosopher Michel de Montaigne once said:
“Speech belongs half to the speaker, half to the listener.”
This means a great speech is not just measured by how well you deliver it as a speaker, but also how it is received by your audience.
The first 50% of the criteria can be more easily met because its factors only concern you as a speaker.
With ample time, proper preparation, and correct use of public speaking tools, you’re on your way to deliver a great speech…
… but how do you make sure that the other 50% (your audience’s part) of the criteria is also met?
As stated by Chris Anderson in his book titled, “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking,” knowledge can’t be pushed into a brain; it has to be pulled in.
In other words, before you can effectively build your speech’s core idea inside your audience’s mind, you need to have their permission.
Permission a.k.a. TRUST.
Trust enables your audience to open up to you and the topic you’ll discuss. Without it, your message won’t land on them with any impact or even at all.
If that is the case, no matter how awesome your speech is, chances are your message will only be understood at some level then filed in a “soon-to-be-forgotten” mental archive.
So… what can you do to earn your audience’s trust?
One way is by making your genuine self visible to your audience.
Don’t act all stiff, boring, or robotic―it will only make them feel intimidated!
Show them a bit of personality and speak to them in a professional but engaging manner.
Here are other tips to help you earn their trust:
Know your audience.
We can’t emphasize this public speaking tip enough.
Your ability to connect with your audience makes a great difference in your speech.
As you prepare for your speech, it’s not just enough to focus on your gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. You should also ask yourself:
“Who is my audience?”
By having a clear answer to this question, you’ll be able to identify how to make your topic relatable to them.
It’s also good to consider what your audience already knows about your topic, as well as what else they want or need to know.
When your audience sees an opportunity to learn something new from your speech, they’ll get more motivated to listen to you.
Even if you’re discussing a familiar topic, you can still make it interesting by offering them a new perspective.
The early bird catches the worm. Be at the venue early.
Who says speaking on stage is the only way to connect with your audience?
You can connect with them even before (and after) you get up on that stage!
As much as possible, arrive a few minutes earlier at the venue of your speech. This will allow you to interact briefly with some of the audiences and adjust to the social atmosphere of the venue.
In the same way, don’t leave the venue immediately right after you finish your speech. Stay a bit longer so that when attendees approach you for a brief conversation or a question, you’ll be there to answer them.
Projecting a friendly and upbeat (but still professional) appearance on stage is contagious.
If your audience sees that you’re enjoying what you’re doing as a speaker, they’ll also be motivated to relax and enjoy while listening to you.
Don’t make them feel like you can’t wait to finish delivering your speech and then go home after that.
Once your audience feels that you’re not happy to do that speech or presentation, they’ll also start to feel the same way.
Loosen up a bit and smile!
That’ll make it easier for you to earn your audience’s trust… and a few friendly faces in the room!
However, this doesn’t mean you have to smile all throughout your speech.
Aside from the fact that it can also be tiring to your facial muscles when done for a long time, some of your audience might find it creepy.
You don’t want to be seen that way, do you?
Smile, but do it in appropriate times, so you maintain a balance of being a figure of authority and friend to your audience.
Maintain good eye contact.
All eyes on you!
As stated in one of our previous “Speak on The Shoulders of Giants” article, maintaining good eye contact with your audience makes you look confident, believable, and professional as a public speaker.
Since eye contact in speeches or presentations signifies inclusion, always remember that you have to look at different people across the room―not just in one part of the room the whole time.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to look each person in the eye one by one.
One technique is to look at one person as you discuss one point, then look at another as you move to another point.
You can also look at one group at a time―it all depends on you.
As you do this, your audience will have the impression that they are really part of your speech and that you are directly talking to them.
Just as Chris Anderson said, one of your jobs as a speaker is to build a “trusting human bond” with your audience so they’re willing, even delighted, to open up their minds to you and your message for a few minutes.
By taking note of the tips mentioned above and applying those in your next public speaking engagement, you’ll be one step closer to building that “trusting connection” with your audience.
Achieve your public speaking goals. Get that remaining 50%!
Remember: When you succeed in making that vital connection, you’re also increasing the chances of delivering your speeches or presentations effectively.
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesday: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
Powered by Valens Research