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Connecting With Your Audience

Connecting With Your Audience

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Published by terrygault
The most successful presentations are made by those who connect with their audience. But what does that audience connection mean exactly? The American Heritage Dictionary defines "connection" as: "An association or relationship." In computer terms, a "connection" occurs when we join with others through a communication link.
The most successful presentations are made by those who connect with their audience. But what does that audience connection mean exactly? The American Heritage Dictionary defines "connection" as: "An association or relationship." In computer terms, a "connection" occurs when we join with others through a communication link.

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Published by: terrygault on Apr 06, 2008
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09/27/2012

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CONNECTING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
(Presentation Skills)"By hook or by crook...connect, connect and connectwith your audience."
Tom Peters
 The most successful presentations are made bythose who connect with their audience. But whatdoes that audience connection mean exactly? TheAmerican Heritage Dictionary defines "connection"as: "An association or relationship." In computerterms, a "connection" occurs when we join withothers through a communication link.Connecting with your audience is all of that.Communicating, associating, relating. Connectingwith your audience involves them in the core of whatyou are saying in your presentation, in the ideas andinformation you are giving them. At a deeper level,you’re not just giving a speech; you’re creating atwo-way interchange based on common interests.When we connect things, we bind them together.When we connect with our audience, we bind themto us. If we really connect with them, they’ll want tosee and hear from us again. By doing this, we createthe starting point of a relationship. When we feel arapport with someone - -a person or a group -- asense of trust and affinity begins to develop.Whatever your objective -- the information or pointsyou want to get across -- you need to be in sync withthe people you are trying to reach – your audience.Let’s look at some of the ways in which we can treat
 
an audience so that they will trust us, feel a rapportwith us and perhaps even want to hear more aboutour ideas or our products.First, pay close attention to your audience. To getattention, you must give attention, so face youraudience directly. This positive body language tellsthem you are open and receptive to them. Makethem feel as if you’re communicating with eachindividual. Talk to them the same way you’d talk to afriend. Make eye contact with people in the front row,the back, the middle, to build a sense of personalconnection. Even in a large group, you can create animpression of speaking directly to each person bymaking direct eye contact here and there throughoutthe audience. Tell your group a story. Actually, every presentationyou give is a story. Your connection with the audiencevia a story or two means you’re joining with them ina shared experience.Dialogue with the audience non-verbally. Beforestarting your presentation, take a moment to standsilently in front of your audience. In this moment youcan actually sense both the audience’s mood andyour own. Do this throughout your presentation.Great presenters adjust their presentation, if necessary, when they face this moment. What is ityou’re trying to say and what is the audience lookingfor? Listen. They’re speaking to you in their own bodylanguage – laughter, silence, the buzz of disinterested murmuring. If you’re not carefully tunedin to your audience, you are engaged in monologue.And in monologue there are no connections.
 
Call for audience involvement. How do you find outthe audience’s perspective? How do you get them toparticipate in a dialogue with you? Ask a question.Few things fire up an audience faster than questions.Rather than sitting and judging the speaker, whenasked a question, audience members are charged toparticipate, their minds alive with possibilities. Willthey know the answer? Will the question bechallenged? How will the presenter respond to theanswer?Asking questions demonstrates your willingness tolet go of narcissistic monologue and involve theaudience in participatory dialogue. When you tossout questions to the audience, you interrupt yourown closed-loop mental process and bring in diverseviewpoints. Asking questions is a subtle tool of persuasion. By simply asking a question, you canoften make your point more powerfully than byhammering home assertion after assertion. Theaudience opens to your ideas as they articulateanswers to your questions.Find out if the audience is "getting it" before it’s toolate to redirect them. Asking questions checks youraudience’s understanding and retention, allowingyou to adjust your presentation mid-stream, if necessary, to more effectively communicate.Want to inject some tension? Demonstrate thatyou’re interested in your audience? Ask questions,listen carefully to the answers and consider follow-upquestions to create a dialogue. Start with open-ended questions addressed to the audience ingeneral. As the presentation progresses, use

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