How to Reach Your Audience

Personalise Your Presentation

Now, here’s a controversial statement!

When people walk away from your presentation, they will remember one thing as their primary memory and another aspect as secondary.  The secondary memory will be your subject matter.  But the most potent memory they will carry with them will be that of you as a speaker.

Is this true?

Public speaking should be a very personal thing to your audience.  If you have done your job effectively, each member of your audience should feel that you were addressing them as an individual.

This should forge a strong bond with your listener, in fact if a person attends several of your presentations, they feel like they are developing a rapport with you – which is great!

Don’t be embarrassed about the fact that people will feel like they know you after you address them in public, in fact nurture it and use it to your advantage.  Learn how to take advantage of this powerful psychological principle and simply give them more of you and about you as you deliver your talk.

Creating a Bond

For example, you can start with your opening comments.  If you take a moment and speak to them person to person, you will create a stronger bond with your listeners which will result in better results from your presentation.  Just use a few moments and divulge a little bit about yourself to this group.  Depending on the subject of course, public speaking can be an emotional event and when you open up to a group of people about your feelings and your past, they metaphorically embrace you as an individual and that presentation becomes personal to them.

Even the simple act of mentioning your journey to the venue, (especially if it was unusual, or you had problems!), or a personal reason that you had for looking forward to this particular presentation, maybe a development that took place from your previous talk at that meeting place.

Using Humour and Stories

Don’t stop at the introduction, but continue to use opportunities to make the presentation personal throughout the talk.  We have talked about the power of using humor, illustrations and stories in your presentation in other posts.  Why not personalize this aspect of your talk instead of using abstract or canned stories or jokes.  Don’t just, “tell a joke”.  Instead, utilize a personal story that has a humorous slant to it and use that to illustrate the point.  By using humor that perhaps shows up the ‘human’ side of you, not only will the laughter or response be more genuine, it will encourage the audience to be on your side and help create that connection between you and your listeners that also serves to strengthen the bond to your subject matter.

The same is true of illustrations.  If you are able to use examples that feature you or some aspect of your life, an event, or relevant action, it is far more powerful than using an imaginary, anonymous situation which is also open to interpretation. Whereas when the scenario is personalized your audience is able to visualize you as the central character and share your reactions, and grasp the meaning of the point that you are making.

Personal Stories?

In telling a story, there is always the option to make up a fictitious story with equally fictitious characters and provided that the audience isn’t led to believe that the story is true, then that often works well. However, if you use a genuine story from your own life, either bygone memories or even recent experiences, that will sound even more convincing and because of the obvious; ‘I was there’, impression, considerably more believable to your audience.

Don’t hold back from putting some of your own feelings, emotions and life into your public speaking.  By giving people a little more of you as a person you will build a higher level of concentration loyalty and responses to your call to action.  You will find that the audience will become a follower of you in such a way that you will almost certainly be asked back to address them in the future.

Next time you make a presentation – make it personal!

Signature Image- Tony James

Click: Here to access my free, “Mini Guide to Confident Speaking”

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