We can all stand up and talk, but how do you actually engage with your audience and make sure that they actually understand and grasp what you are saying? Whenever you give a speech, no matter how long or short, you need to take your audience on a journey with you. Each speech is like a mini story and should be told with enthusiasm and energy. Here are my top tips for engaging your audience effectively and making sure they remember you and what you are sharing with them.
1. Make a good first impression. Your audience will decide whether they like you within the first few seconds of seeing you walk to the front or onto the stage. Dress well and in a style that suits you and the occasion.
2. Smile! Look like you are happy to be there and excited about sharing your message – no matter what the content or how serious the topic is.
3. Make positive, confident and definite gestures. When you move naturally and use the space around you, it will enhance your message and make you more relaxed. It is also easier to watch someone who moves rather than someone who stands stiff and still.
4. Look at your audience, and I mean really look at them. Maintain good quality eye contact and ignore all those people who said you should focus on a point at the back of the room! Make sure you engage with the front row – they are sitting there to be close to you. Let them in.
5. Use a variety of tones of voice during your talk. This keeps your speech interesting and easier to absorb. Monotone or too high pitched and your audience will either fall asleep or want to run for the door! If you remember that each speech is like a conversation…how would you talk to your friend or a group of friends? That is how you should deliver the talk.
The best way to be engaging and energetic on stage is to remember to be yourself. An audience will engage with you best if you are honest and enthusiastic about your topic. Even the most dull subjects can be interesting if you show your passion.
Treat every speech as a conversation, whether you are speaking to 10, 100 or 1000 people. The audience will react positively and feel connected to you and your message.
Good luck and do let me know if these top tips helped you to engage more enthusiastically with your audience. I would love to hear about your public speaking experiences.