Monday, July 20, 2009
The ABC's of Public Speaking - O is for Open
O is for Open
When you desire to make a connection with an audience, you must open your heart and soul. If you are trying to speak as the "expert" and hiding your real self behind a facade, the people will know that you are not being real.
Show your audience your personal side, even in a business presentation. Expose pieces of your personal life and your past mistakes and vulnerabilities, as this will make you easier for the average person to relate to you as a human being.
Too often speakers mistakenly think that they need to appear that they have all the answers. They feel that if they do not seem in control, they will lose the respect of those listening. I believe the opposite is true. If you do not show all of yourself, then you will not be trusted.
Authenticity is what makes an audience connect to a speaker.
Also be open to the eclectic nature of those in the crowd. Anytime there is a gathering you must remember that everyone comes to the group with their own history, experiences, education, preconceived ideas, thoughts, desires and expected outcomes. In most cases the speaker cannot change the views of the audience in one presentation. Thus, you must be open minded to the reality that your audience may have a different perspectives. This is not about right and wrong, it about different. Be open to accepting others.
Be cautious to never be dismissive of the audience's views or make them feel you see their ideas as irrelevant. If you are speaking on a controversial topic, or one that can fuel emotions, be sure to accept that your opinion is one of many. Let them know you are open to the conflicting positions.
While there is certainly a time and a place for persuasive speech, make sure that your venue is correct for such a presentation. When challenging others to change their stance, you must make sure to be respectful of them.
Open yourself up to making connections with the people in your audience. All opportunities come from people, so be welcoming to those who you encounter at your presentation, as they might provide you with a path to your next big thing.
Have A Great Day.