10 Easy Ways to Connect With Your Audience

We all know that in order to persuade, move or convince an audience we must connect with them, but how?  Here are 10 easy, can-do-starting-today ways to connect with your audience.

1)  Look them in the eye. Anyone who told you to “just look over their heads” was giving you bad advice. We connect to others via our eyes. Don’t be afraid; just do it.

2)  SMILE!  While you’re looking at them; smile. They’ll smile back – they can’t help it. It’s our human physiological response to another human smiling at us. Plus, it makes us feel good. Double connecting bonus.

3)  bespeaking their language. NO Jargon words, acronyms, industry speak. The more you can talk to them in plain old English, (but with great REAL words) the more easily they’ll connect with you and your message.

4)  Speak about what they care about. Give them what they want, not what you think they should want.(A presentation should be a present to them; one that they’ll appreciate receiving.)

5)  Name drop. Mention the name of your host, or better yet, someone in the audience you’ve had a chance to speak with before your presentation started. In fact, any reference to one of their own will make every one of your audience members feel more connected to you.

6) Tell a story they can relate to. Ideally it’s a story about them, but if that’s not possible, tell a story about an experience common to those in their profession, or their industry – or even as people. Again, this will show them that you ‘get’ them, which builds connection.

7) Get close. Don’t be afraid to move into the audience. As the speaker you’re a celebrity to them.(They’re insta-groupies. Seriously.) The closer in physical proximity to you, the more thrilled they feel.

8) DON’T distract them!  Your PowerPoint deck should enhance their connection to you and your message. It should not be the star attraction and certainly not an overwhelmingly boring text intensive distraction.

9)  Embrace them. Figuratively speaking, of course. If the audience gets the feeling you like them, care about them, have built the presentation around them, they’ll be eager to connect with you, not just during the presentation, but afterward as well. Which brings us to our last tip:

10) Make it easy for them to connect with you going forward. Give them the opportunity to get your newsletter and/or connect with you on Facebook and Twitter. Most important, stick around after your presentation so they can meet you in person, share a thought, ask a question or simply say thank you.

Adopt these easy 10 and you’ll be on your way to connecting with your audience like never before. Oh, and you’ll absolutely be heard.

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