Note From Cathy:
Dan makes some great points in this article. As someone who is vertically-challenged, I have long been aware that in addition to stepping off the stage or into the audience, standing behind a podium can also make me disappear.
To create intimacy with the audience, I like to move around the stage and make eye contact with audience members. When making eye contact, choose a few anchors—people who are responsive and involved audience members who will give you good reinforcement. (Tip: If you are afraid of speaking and intimidated when facing a crowd, instead of making direct eye contact you can look at a point a little over their heads. It will appear to the audience that you are looking at them, but you don’t actually have to look anyone in the face.)
Here are Dan Janal’s tips about putting yourself in the shoes (seats?) of audience members to be a more effective speaker:
As a speaker, I like to break down the invisible fourth wall that separates the speaker from the audience. I like to step down from the stage and walk among the first rows of the crowd.
However, as an audience member, I learned how bad this actually can be!
If you step down from the stage, as many speakers do, the people in the back can’t see you. You might be a bopping head. Or you might disappear entirely.
Ironically, speakers do this to create intimacy with the audience. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. If we can’t see you, we can’t like you.
I also notice another speaker who walks deep into the audience. While this tries to accomplish the same intimacy, it means the people in the front rows have to turn around to see the speaker – and usually his back. Not a good thing.
I guess this means that it is a good idea for speakers to put themselves in the roles of audience members to see what they see and feel what they feel.
If your group needs a speaker to talk about publicity, marketing, internet marketing or running effective meetings, please let me know. I might be the right person for you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Janal, author of Reporters Are Looking for YOU! helps small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products. My clients get terrific results from my coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to www.prleadsplus.com or call me at 952-380-1554.