7 things speakers should remember about the audience

When you make a presentation to a group —regardless of the crowd’s size or the length of your talk— your success depends largely on establishing a rapport. Keep these tips in mind.

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It’s essential to keep the right attitude toward your audiences despite the stresses of travel, performance and occasionally unpredictable responses. A speaker can easily become cynical, indifferent or even angry at her audiences if the road and the stress get too much.

Here’s a quick reminder list for harried speakers:

1. Never take the audience for granted. An audience gives you its attention for the hour that you have it. That’s a wonderful present, and it’s where all thinking about an audience should begin.

2. Protect yourself. You and the audience won’t always agree. Someone will simply not like your suit, your shoes or your smile. If you’re saying something truly world-changing, lots of people might dislike your message. Arm yourself for the occasional hurt.

3. Stay open. Otherwise, no real sharing can take place. It’s on you to start the dialogue. To do that in an authentic way, you have to find ways to stay open even when you run into disagreement.

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