In a world of temptations, it is hard to stay focussed while facing the audience. But in public speaking, what is harder is keeping your audience focussed, having their eyes locked with yours, having their ears ringing with your voice and having their mind in sync with your actions. To keep a tab on these temptations, there is a lot that a speaker must keep in mind.
How to Keep Your Audience Focused?
1. Keep an attitude; announce ground rules
To begin with, having an attitude like none other. Being firm with your words and actions, and confidence running through your veins. It is important to prohibit the use of the biggest distraction today- mobile phones. Once your audience is free of the temptation to run their thumbs and fingers over screens, their eyes would have no place to be, but over you.
2. Watch your audience
As a public speaker, it is important to watch your own body language, but what matters more, is the body language of your listeners. If they’re constantly looking at the watch, they’d rather leave; if they are yawning, they are bored; if their arms are crossed over their chest, they are hesitant to receive your information and many more such little leakages of emotions that screen their mood. To cure this, it is essential to catch these first, then work on them by changing your pitch, your intonation, your style, and the expression of ideas to constantly have your audience on their toes.
3. Give them what they need, not what you have
All of us know, that this is a world of a subtle barter system. We want our audience to listen, and in return, it wants something, a souvenir, to take back home. This souvenir, can be a piece of advice, can be help in any form, it can be a memory, it can be a trick, a life hack and what not! The possibilities are endless. Give them, what THEY need, not what you have. I may love ice-creams, but if I wish to catch a fish, I need to offer what the fish needs- caterpillars. It is important, to not be vulnerable in front of them, never open all your cards, never become an open-book. Turn your pages slowly, and calmly. Leave them wanting for more.
4. Begin with a story, illustration or humour
To begin from the beginning is important. In public speaking, the first few seconds of your speech decide how hooked your audience is going to be. And for that it is important to start with a story, a quote an illustration, good humour, or intriguing questions. The right way to proceed, is to start with a high.
5. Keep handouts ready
Always have something, other than words to have their attention. When giving a presentation, handouts, cards, pointers or markers of what you’re trying to say, must rest with the audience. This way, even if there is a slightest chance of them trying to move their glance away from your face, it’s towards your material.
6. Prohibit food and drinks
You might have seen in movie theatres, people standing up in between and getting food and drinks. What happens when they do so? They distract themselves and others also. So if you want the attention of the your audience only in your presentation, never let them eat or drink while listening. Call-out a disrespectful member if need be.
People at times, get bored, tired and restless during long speeches. Keep your presentation/ speech like a girl’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject, short enough to create interest.
Remember to KISS (no, don’t kiss your audience) – Keep It Short and Simple.
These ways, if employed, are sure to guarantee you with undivided audience attention and admiration. Public speaking is most effective and recognised if you are able to make your audience happy and concentrated. You may face difficulties in the beginning but with time you will learn and get the experience of the audience. To get some experience, you may join a public speaking course or some club where you can have an audience to practice.
So take the plunge!
You may also go through our post Hazards in Public Speaking – Audience. To join business training or public speaking course by Mr Anurag Aggarwal, feel free to contact us at 7834-99-9292 or visit http://www.anuragaggarwal.com