Speech Training

"Wake up!" How to deal with a board audience?

Audience 3.JPG

Can you wake up this audience?

You can if you earn their attention.

Recently I received this question from an experienced presenter. Feel his pain.

 I thought my portion went reasonably well, but I was preceded by a presenter who took about three hours for a 25-minute workshop and sort of lulled the room into a state of boredom. I could feel him losing the room during his presentation, and I knew it wouldn’t be good news for me to follow. Sure enough, I was met with many glazed-over eyes and a real lack of participation and interactiveness. What have you seen dynamic presenters do in that situation? I’m sure for every great presenter out there, there are plenty of bad ones, and if I want to be great, I’ll need to be able to pick up my game, regardless of those before or after me.

Following a dud is worse than following a champ.

Here is my answer. Please send us your suggestions for his plight.

I have seen this all too often.

 Here are steps I have seen successful:

  • When you are introduced, be in the back of the room, speak loudly and thank the previous presenter. Make a grand entrance slapping high 5's and show energy

  • Use music to transition to your presentation. Farrell Williams' "Happy" is a good example..

  • Consider running a video of “Happy.” Here is a version with the Minions. https://youtu.be/MOWDb2TBYDg Wait a minute then begin clapping along with the music. It says "clap" on the screen but a tired audience may be reluctant.

  • At the very least, get them up in place with some activity. Don't let them leave the room. Promise them you will only take (xx) "useful" minutes and they are free to leave.

  • Be discovered in the audience, stand on a chair, and greet the crowd with your promise to be (xx) minutes with useful content

  • Anything that will completely recover the room will be unexpected and welcome.

  • One presenter recently entered the room with music and 5 twenty dollar bills. He handed them out randomly with a promise each recipient could keep the $20 if they answered a question at the end of his presentation.

  • Keep your energy up through the entire presentation, being interactive where possible, as often as possible.

  • BE RELEVANT - don't waste their time - at all. They will begin to leave for sure.

  • In many cased this challenge is worse than speaking after lunch.

Give me your thoughts on these suggestions when you can.

Sundar Pichai - Brilliant man but needs coaching for live video

Pacing back and forth (up to six steps each way) with a background moving makes the audience seasick and uses energy that should be used with the message.  

Not a good image for the world's largest company leader to pace like a caged lion. Simple skills.

When you have live image magnification (IMAG) or live streaming video, you need to be aware of the video production as well as the live elements. 

You are on the huge live IMAG screens for 80% of the audience to watch. 

The video director will keep you in the center of the frame. But if you pace back and forth, the audience sees you centered but the background continues to move. 

And if your movements are pacing back and forth, you make us all sick. 

Stand in one place, feet apart like you are returning a tennis ball, swivel at your hips and exude energy to the entire room. Moving 6 feet either way does nothing to improve you connection with the audience. In fact, standing in one place, with energy, gives your audience a focus.

The A2 who put the mic on Sundar also put it so close to his beard the noise is also distracting. 

All who read this blog know I am the "Audience Advocate." The person for hire to monitor all the production planning and execution to enhance the audience experience, not make them turn away.

The book "On-The-Job Speech Training" covers this and many other techniques to improve your audience appeal.


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Do you treat your webinar like a live audience presentation?

Avoid pitfalls of bad webinars. Prepare with special consideration of the medium and and the message.

Multi-tasking while presenting?

One fundamental of my book On-The-Job Speech Training is helping presenters concentrate on their message while avoiding conflicting thoughts.  Your brain does have amazing processing ability but you can only do so many things at once.  I help train you to remove common distractions during your "on stage" time.  [polldaddy poll=3064564] "According to a new study, those who find it difficult to cope with more than a couple of things at one time do not need to be disappointed. The brain is set up to administer two chores, but not extra at once.

That's because, when there are two things to deal with, a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex splits, so that half of the area centers on one job, while the other half on the other thing. This sharing out of task lets a person to keep track of two things easily, but if you include a third one, things might get jumbled up.

Study Researcher, Etienne Koechlin of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France, said, "What really the results show is that we can readily divide tasking. We can cook, and at the same time talk on the phone, and switch back and forth between these two activities.  However, we cannot multitask with more than two tasks".

The findings are published this week in the journal Science.

The medial frontal cortex (MFC) is believed to be part of the brain's "motivational system". It particularly helps to supervise the value of rewards and pushes a person's performance in accordance to that value.

Scientists knew that an area at the very front of the brain, known as the anterior prefrontal cortex, is involved in multitasking. But they were not clear how the MFC was entailed in this.

Koechlin and his associates had 32 subjects complete a letter-matching task while they had their brains scanned with functional magnetic resonance (fMRI).

The researchers saw that, the higher the monetary reward, the more activity there was in the MFC."

Thanks to a post on www.topnews.us by Amit Pathania on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 12:46.

cience 16 April 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5976, pp. 360 - 363 DOI: 10.1126/science.1183614