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A Tough Act To Follow

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2018 at 1:10 PM

 

excellent speakerThe speaker on stage was excellent. She had it dialed in: the audience was attentive, involved and the room was full of energy and laughter. The man standing next to me leaned into me to whisper “She is really good. Sure glad I am not up next. That would be one tough act to follow”.

What this man did not realize is I was the next speaker and in a few minutes I would be taking the stage with this same audience. My assessment of the situation was quite the opposite of his though: I was delighted with what she was doing with the audience and how she was setting me up for success. I knew when I took over, the audience would be alive, active, fully charged and ready to take it to the next level. She had in essence, built a podium of success for to me to step up to.

As I took the stage, I acknowledged what a great speaker had preceded me. I reminded the audience of her energy and felt the room liven up again at just the thought. Then I worked my own magic on the audience and gave the audience my best. Being ready for the presentation helped: I had a clear goal, an outline, and used the confidence that comes with properly preparing to catapult the audience to new heights.

Many speakers, including the man I mentioned earlier, are intimidated in this situation and start with something like “That is one hard act to follow.” That type of statement implies you are intimidated and immediately lowers your credibility both to your audience and in your own mind.

The next time you find yourself following a really great presenter, rather than bring the energy down, boost it by taking one of these approaches:

  • Thank the speaker and highlight a part of the talk you found helpful
  • Acknowledge the speaker’s success to the audience, for example, open with” Wow! – That was one great presentation –don’t you think?”
  • “Let’s have another round of applause for that great presentation”
  • Highlight a point the speaker made and how it relates to what you will present

Rather than dread following an excellent speaker – ride the wave of energy and excitement. Express gratitude to the previous speaker, acknowledge how good they are then give the audience your best.

 

© 2016 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

 

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Managing Difficult Audiences: A Workshop

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2018 at 10:19 PM

It Is Difficult To Present Controversial Or Unwanted Information

Have you needed to respond to a tough question, needed to deliver unwelcome information, or felt heckled at a program or meeting?  When done properly, both the audience and agency leave feeling heard and satisfied (even if not happy) with the results. When done poorly, it is like throwing gasoline on a fire. Your credibility will be questioned and you will leave feeling terrible. difficult audience

This session provides techniques to help set up and manage difficult discussions while remaining in control of the situation and  ensuring everyone has the opportunity to speak. You will learn techniques to diffuse conflict before it occurs, keep your meeting on-track , and provide respectful dialogue that allows everyone to share their opinion.

Participants will learn:

  • Tips to manage difficult meetings successfully
  • How to manage hecklers
  • To respond effectively to questions
  • Techniques to diffuse tense situations
  • Ways to determine when you are dealing with a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”
  • Techniques of Verbal Victories
  • To help your audience feel heard

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

10:30 AM– 2:30 PM

 Robert Livermore Community Center, Livermore, CA

 $110  per  person – To register

 (415) 342-7106

ethan@ispeakeasy.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Really Great Question

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2018 at 10:11 PM

 

I knew I was in trouble as soon as he blurted out “this is probably a really dumb question but…”

I knew I was about to hear a really basic question. The kind I am asked all the time. Something really basic and elementary that my perhaps my dog could answer. asking quesiton

I listened intently as he spoke and when he was done, I smiled as I replied, “that is a really great question”.

As a presenter, I hope the questions I am asked will be intellectually stimulating, challenging, and an opportunity for me demonstrate my credibility. This question was none of those.

In truth – it was a great question. What made it great was the fact that he was asking something that he did not know the answer. He was seeking to educate himself and to learn. This is the reason I speak – to help people see things in a new way and to help them discover new truths.

I watched his face light up as I affirmed the quality of his question. He listened carefully to my answer and from there; the conversation progressed down a related path. The audience appreciated the response as well. They knew they were safe asking a question without fear of belittlement. They saw the kindness offered by the presenter and the excitement I had as I gave the answer.

The response demonstrated that as speaker, I saw the audience as my equal. I did not feel superior to them, I welcomed their questions and inquiries and I was intent on helping them.

In truth, it was a pretty general question. The kind I get all the time. Yet I am so grateful he asked.

The next time you get a question that seems basic; perhaps even ridiculously simply, remember to answer it well. Take time to listen carefully to the question and be clear that you appreciate the question, even if it seems to be a very simple one. Be gracious and excited if not for the question itself, then for the opportunity to help a member of your audience. The manner in which you answer will speak volumes about the type of person you are.

 

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

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