Speak for Yourself

Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!

Tune in to your Audience

The most important thing about any communication is to adjust what you say and how you say it, so it will please your audience. Tuning in to them is your number one priority. There is simply no point in presenting to anyone about anything unless you’ve tailored it to their needs, interests, and approach to the issue. Countless examples of miscommunication occur every day in all sorts of settings because the person speaking and the person listening are not on the same wavelength.
The first step of any talk or presentation must be to consider who they are, what they’re wanting, and how you can connect. Look for ways in which you can make them feel you and they are similar. You want them to feel well disposed towards you so they are receptive to your message. People will pay attention for their reasons – not yours. Even if there are very few connections, this is an important clue to how you should approach the task, as it tells you that you need to work hard to create the links that are essential for your message to get through.
You must also decide how you want to come across, from their point of view. Your style should suit the occasion but must also be a ‘true you’. The character you commit to showing should be real. Authenticity is most important in convincing an audience to go along with you. People have great bulls***t detectors. You may choose to be ‘authoritative’, or ‘appealing’, ‘intelligent’, ‘friendly’, ‘reliable’ – and so on. If you are the life of any party feel free to be amusing and ebullient. If you are thoughtful and introspective, by all means reveal this in what you say and how you speak. If you are everybody’s pal, popular and a team player, let that show.

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One comment on “Tune in to your Audience

  1. Pingback: Persuasion – Five steps to success « Speak well, do well!

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This entry was posted on 14/02/2012 by in Preparing a speech, Public speaking.

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