Deploy a range of audience connection techniques for maximum impact, such as:
- Inclusive language (“we,” “you”)
- Cognitive engagement (“Imagine if …”)
- Polling and rhetorical questions
- Humor (carefully!)
- Emotional appeal
- How to Connect With An Audience Fast (Nick Morgan, Public Words)
- Tips for Reading the Room Before a Meeting or Presentation (Rebecca Knight, HBR)
- How to Introduce Yourself So You’ll Be Unforgettable (in a good way!) (TED Ideas)
- Going From Suck to Non-Suck as a Public Speaker (Peter Sims, HBR)
Choose a TED Talk or a Stanford LOWkeynote talk on a topic that interests you. As you watch, jot down as many audience engagement techniques as you can spot. These might be verbal, cognitive techniques or non-verbal, physical techniques. What engages you as an audience member, and why?
Build Your Checklist
- Create Anxiety Management Plan (AMP) and use when speaking publicly
- Define audience and speaking goals:
- Who am I speaking to?
- What are their needs?
- What do I want them to know, feel, or do differently after hearing me?
- Choose and apply an identifiable structure, such as:
- What, so what, now what?
- Problem, solution, benefit
- What is, what could be, new bliss
- Create a powerful opening and closing
- Create transitions that:
- Resummarize prior section
- Introduce next section
- Signpost overall structure
- Prepare visual aids that reinforce structure and story:
- One big idea per slide
- Quick impact
- Clean and crisp
- Plan and prepare specific audience engagement techniques such as:
- Inclusive language
- Cognitive / rhetorical exercises
- Questions and polls
- Engaging data or anecdotes
- Practice and digitally record talk repeatedly, refining:
- Visual delivery: Stance, movement, gestures, eye contact
- Vocal delivery: Volume, dynamics, pace, tone
- Verbal delivery: Clear and vivid word choices, minimize fillers