What should we do if we find ourselves in an audience listening to someone who has not yet learned how to structure and deliver an engaging presentation? “Every audience has a responsibility,” says my brother, the legendary guitarist Robert Fripp. Bill Gove, the first president of the National Speakers Association taught NSA members, “You are responsible to your audience, not for your audience.” I share this advice from my Las Vegas friend and colleague Amy Ayoub, popular professional speaker and speech trainer:
Be the Audience You Want to Have
by Amy Ayoub
Imagine you are invited to speak at a luncheon to give an update on an important law (or company policy) that was recently passed. The audience is largely made up of people who will be directly affected by this law, and are extremely interested in what you have to say. You aren’t the most dynamic presenter, but you do know this law inside and out and will give a thorough explanation. Plus, you’ll be able to answer any questions they may have.
Now imagine this happens:
You notice side conversations at two of the tables. You’re determined not to let that distract you.
The number, frequency and volume of the side conversations continue to increase as your speech goes on and, no matter how hard you try, it’s distracting. You can see others in the audience are annoyed by this rudeness.
With all the interruptions, you’re relieved that people start asking questions so you don’t have to remember where you were in your presentation.
Several people are having such loud conversations that the person who asked the question can’t hear your answer.
One person answers her phone, bending down as if no one will notice. Is she serious?
It’s over! Although it wasn’t a pleasant experience for you or those who wanted to hear what you had to say, you survived.
Do you think it’s your obligation as the speaker to hold the audience’s attention? Or, is it the audience’s obligation to give you their undivided attention? It would be wonderful if every speaker was compelling and inspiring. Unfortunately, that’s the exception, not the rule.
The next time you are given the opportunity to attend a presentation, even if the speaker isn’t compelling, he or she may have some interesting content. You’ll only find out if you politely pay attention! Your fellow listeners will appreciate it! Be the audience you want to have when you speak.
Amy Ayoub is known as The Zen Speaker. She speaks on conquering your fear of public speaking, increasing your business through effective public speaking, and capitalizing on your individual communication style. She helps speakers go from uncertain, fearful and panicked to calm, confident and compelling. For more information and to sign up for Amy’s newsletters on public speaking visit: http://www.thezenspeaker.com
Thank you Amy!
If you need to improve your presentation skills, why not join me in Las Vegas for the Lady and the Champs Speakers’ Conference February 22-23, 2014? I team up with my World Champions’ Edge partners Darren LaCroix, Ed Tate, and Craig Valentine. As an executive speech coach, my clients include corporate leaders, celebrity speakers, well-known sports and media personalities, and sales teams. You can learn many of the public speaking secrets I share with my executive speech coaching clients at Fripp events and through my DVDs, CDs and digital downloads.
For more information on upcoming public speaking and presentation skills events that are open to the public visit: https://fripp.com/public-speaking-events/
Learn effective presentation skills, and perfect your business presentations through CDs, DVDs and digital downloads: https://fripp.com/store/public-speaking/
Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp is hired by individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.