I have a question as a speaker: how do you insure that your words reach the global audience and not just a few?–PHY
Thanks for this great question. It’s is a tough one! I don’t think you can guarantee that your words reach everyone, but there are concrete steps you can take to get your message across to the biggest possible proportion of your audience.
Content: Don’t try to tell the audience too many things. Drill down in your preparation to a few key points. I like to ask my clients: if someone got to your talk just as it was ending, grabbed someone coming out, and said “Hey, I missed it! Tell me what she said!,” what would they say? Hint: it’s cheating to just summarize your long talk.
Once you’ve settled on that main message, the nugget you want them to get, support it in several ways. Tell stories, give examples, set up analogies, give data. Come at the key points from several directions. This allows you to do a couple of things: you repeat the message, so you have more chances to get it across, and by employing different strategies, you engage different types of learners and listeners.
Delivery: Don’t rush. You’ve boiled your message down to the essentials, so you should have plenty of time. Pace yourself, breathe, land your sentences, and let them sit for a moment. Vary your cadence and speed. Use eye contact to connect with different segments of the audience.
Presence: Be aware of the room. Look at people’s faces. Watch for signs that they’re following you—nods, smiles, leaning forward. Watch for signs that they’re not—confused expressions, phones coming out, side conversations. When you’re planning your talk, build in some interaction. This will help you gauge their engagement and their understanding.
If you’ve got a question, email me. I’d love to feature it on the blog!