Bridge Building and Better Speaking

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2014 at 9:08 PM

building bridgesEffective speakers build bridges between themselves and the audience. They get to know the audience to create a feeling of connection. They learn what interests and motivates the audience, and show themselves as a multi-dimensional being. Doing this allows the speaker to address the needs of the audience while making the presentation feel more like a conversation with a friend rather than a pitch by a stranger.

The more you can bridge the gap between you and the audience, the more accepting they will be of your ideas.

Use these techniques to move from an” us and them” situation to a feeling of “I am one of you”.

  • Arrive early, set up, and mingle. Take time to greet members of the audience. Introduce yourself and ask them questions. This is an opportunity for you to learn about your audience on both an individual and group basis. Spend more time listening as your turn to speak is coming.
  • Reference individuals in the audience. When speaking, refer to individuals in the audience by name and refer to your conversations with them. This makes the one person feel very good while demonstrating to the entire audience that you value them.
  • Ask the audience questions. Encourage them to raise their hands and create opportunities for them to respond. This creates a group experience and unites the audience.
  • Listen to the speakers that precede you. When presenting as part of an agenda, arrive early and observe the proceedings. Sit quietly and listen. This shows your interest in the audience, assures you are on time, and gives you insight on other issues they are dealing with.
  • Talk about common experiences or values that you share with your audience. Based on your conversations with individuals, what do you know, do or feel that is common to the group? What are your shared interests and goals?

All of these steps build bridges while tearing down barriers between you and the audience. Take time to learn your audience: talk with them and find out what makes them tick. Include them in your presentation. Your credibility will soar and your audience will be more receptive to your message.

© 2007 by iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.

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  1. This past Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, I was a volunteer zone captain for the first time during the TCS NYC Marathon. Went through a lot of training for this. Helped pioneer the Volunteer Leadership Program with the NYRR Club. I finally learned to use a radio communication device. Always saw others use them.

    In orientation, speaking for the first time in front of a group of volunteers for a post finish zone was very daunting, but I got through it. I was calm and collect and make sure that everyone was engaged and interacted with each other and myself; and understood what was going to happen and what was expected of them.

    We even had Red Cross Spotters in each zone and also made sure that the zone supervisor for the spotters interacted and explained what Red Cross Spotters would do and the protocols are when many of the 50,000 or so runners were not feeling well, etc.

    All in all, it was a fun-filled busy day.

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