Do You Alienate Your Audience? Make A “You” Turn

If we focus too much on ourselves in our presentations, we run the risk of losing our audience and failing to get our message across – even if our content and delivery is strong. I share some insights on this from my friend and fellow presentation expert, Darren LaCroix.

Speaker at Podium
How many times have you been stuck listening to a speaker on an ego trip?

How many times have you been stuck listening to a presenter on an ego trip? A speaker who sounds like their primary message to the audience is, “It’s all about me!” has forgotten one of the foundations of effective speaking… It’s all about the audience!

Many presenters are unaware of their own language.  In their internal perception they might assume that their speech is simply conversational. However, a speaker who can only hear how they sound to themselves has no capacity to consider how they sound to their audience.

The use of audience-focused language can make all the difference in how your audience digests your message. It also influences how likable you are to your audience.

Language Matters

Pay attention to the subtleties of language that affect how you connect with your audience. Often we hear a presenter say:

“I want to share with you…”

“I want to tell you a story…”

“I have three principles…”

Darren LaCroix and Patricia Fripp
Darren LaCroix and Patricia Fripp

Guess what? Your audience doesn’t care what you want to share or whether you want to tell a story! They care about hearing the story. Skip the “I” statements and just tell the story!  So, what should we say?

Instead of, “I want to share with you…”

Just share!

Instead of, “I want to tell you a story…”

Jump into the story!

Do not say, “I have three principles…”

Say, “After this presentation, you’ll walk away with three principles…”

We know they are your principles!

I’ve made these types of mistakes myself. Once in a while, I still slip. As speakers, we don’t have to be perfect, but we should always strive to keep the focus on our audience.

Make a “You” Turn

Another way to connect with your audience is to ask “you-focused” questions that engage your audience members’ own thoughts. For example, you can set up a story by leading into it with a “you-focused” question. You could start with a question like, “Can you remember how you felt just before your first presentation?” Using a question that gets your audience members to consider their own experiences clearly communicates how the story you are about to tell relates to them.

Ego-centric presentations cannot be excused as “conversational.” Consider your language from your audience’s point of view.

Thank you Darren!

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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.