Show The Audience You Don’t Care

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales on February 21, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Speaking Tip #80

There was a man speaking on the stage. I could see his lips move, but I could not hear his voice.  When several audience members shouted for him to use the microphone, he laughed replying “You can hear me just fine” and continued talking. The problem was that few really could hear.

This speaker had made two simple yet common mistakes, and in doing so, lost the attention of the audience:

1)      He put his comfort and desires ahead of those of the audience.

2)      He ASSUMED that because he was speaking, everyone wanted to hear what he had to say.

Esessentially, he let us know he did not care about us or what we needed, even though all we really needed was to hear.

I think most of us wanted to hear what he had to say. When faced with the problem of not being able to hear, the audience had to choose what to do. Most of the audience gave up, relaxed back into their seats and continued doing what they were doing before he took the stage: conversing with their neighbors.

This speaker had lost the audience.

A speaker is there to serve the audience. It is the responsibility of the speaker to insure the audience is comfortable, can see, and hear.

Look at the better speakers of our modern day: do you notice the President (any president) standing on a stage shouting rather than wearing a microphone?  When you watch the late Bill Gates or a TED talk, do you notice how large a screen is used? Even concerts and sporting events make it easier for spectators to see and hear the action.

Before an audience will listen to your ideas and consider your point, you have to grab their attention and demonstrate your credibility. If they cannot hear you or if you demonstrate you do not care about your audience, you will lose before you have started.

Do not lose the battle over the small things. Take time to plan your presentation so it works, take care of your audience, and make sure they are comfortable and can see and hear you. This won’t bring them to your side, but it does put them in a position where your good words can do their magic.

© 2012 iSpeakEASY – All Rights Reserved This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.



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  1. I often think about how I can better connect with my audience, but really your post drives home the little things like COMFORT! An audience might want to be engaged but if they are not comfortable, it is really difficult for them. The speaker’s job is to make it as easy on the audience as possible to connect with a speech.

    • Excellent point Michelle. Speakers often overlook some basic “needs” of an audience. The ease of seeing the speaker and screen, the ability to hear, the comfort of the chairs, an understanding of how long the presentation will be and what it will cover, ease of access in finding the building or room, being greeted when they enter, having adequate breaks, having food and water….the list can go on.

      The more a speaker can do to accommodate the audience, the more likely the audience will be to listen and accept the words.

      The speaker I referred to in the article completely blew it. He had opened a wonderful new venue for music and I assume was trying to tell us of upcoming shows and how we could get involved. I loved the place, loved the music, hope he succeeds but did not feel inspired to get involved.

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