3 Ways To Lose Your Audience in 30 Seconds
by Scott Danielson
Making a good first impression is important, especially for speakers. This is an easy explanation for why beginning a speech is so nerve wracking. You want to introduce your topic, get the audience’s attention, and maybe, just maybe, get the audience to like you. Though, we’ve made it clear how forgiving audiences can be, starting your speech the wrong way is a great way to kill their enthusiasm.
Here are three ways to lose your audience in thirty seconds. Avoid them at all costs.
#1 Apologize For Your Inexperience
Sometimes a speaker should share information with the audience. If you’re sick and unable to speak loudly, it’s courteous to let your audience know. That way they will understand if your voice is soft and not take it personally.
New speakers believe this same logic applies to them and will apologize for being inexperienced. The logic being if I tell them I’m new at this they won’t expect much. Trouble is, the audience hears “I’m not worth your time” and immediately checks out.
The audience is there for you, so don’t take anything away from what you have to offer. If you are inexperienced, practice until you are truly comfortable with your material. You may not be a ground breaking speaker your first time, but your expertise and dedication to your audience will show.
#2 Start Up The Slides
Considering the fact that I suffered through fifty minute Power Point presentations in high school & college, I dread any speaker that opens with a slide. If the projector starts up within the first minute, I gear up for a boring note taking session with a slew of bullet points to write down.
Slides can be an effective way to enhance your presentation. It’s a great way to represent data or post relevant images to make sure your point hits home. Starting with slides, however, immediately puts distance between you and your audience. Your next presentation can have slides as long as you connect with your audience beforehand.
#3 Don’t Dress The Part
In the days leading up to Facebook’s Wall Street debut, Mark Zuckerberg was under unusually intense scrutiny for wearing a hoodie during a high profile meeting. Though it’s very easy to argue that the Wall Street types were being close minded and judgmental, Zuckerberg’s ridicule happened for one reason.
He failed to match the Wall Street culture.
If a speaker doesn’t look like the expert they claim to be, it’s very difficult to take them seriously. Imagine taking medical advice from a new doctor dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. The doctor in question is likely competent and knowledgeable but that’s difficult to remember when you assumed they’d be wearing a white coat or scrubs. To avoid a fashion faux pas, research your audience’s typical attire and dress slightly better. Remember severely overdressing is just as bad as underdressing.
Don’t make your next presentation an uphill battle. Think like your audience. If any part of your presentation would bore, offend, or anger you, it’s a safe to say the crowd will react the same way. It’s not difficult to earn the audience’s respect but it’s insanely difficult to win it back.
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Image provided by Akidos