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                                                                                 - Roberta Prescott


 

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NEWSLETTERS


"Connect With Your Audience"
By Roberta Prescott

While you’re trying to connect with your audience you have competition from hundreds of internal and external distractions:

  • “The room’s too hot.”
  • “What’s that noise in the hallway?”
  • “This had better be good. I’ve got a deadline to meet.”
  • “I’ve got three calls and four emails to return by 11.”
  • “Can I get an early tee time this week end?”
  • “When can I get my flat tire fixed?”

Their minds are always ready to wander. Following are some turn-offs that can disconnect you from them:

LOSING THE POINT
Keep their attention by:

  • Having a clear objective. What do you want them to think, feel or do as a result of your presentation?
  • Identifying their needs and giving them benefits that are relevant. E.g.,
    • Being more productive
    • Having a better understanding of corporate direction
    • Generating more income
    • Giving the meaning of the data, not just the facts. Think in terms of “This is important to you because … “
    • Adding technicolor to black and white news by using examples, anecdotes and analogies that address their priorities, hot buttons or specific needs

DELIVERING WITH LOW ENERGY
Whether you’re reading word-for-word from notes or droning on in a monotone, the effect is hypnotic. A zone out is not far behind. Instead:

  • Vary the pitch of your voice (how high and how low)
  • Vary your vocal projection (how loud and how soft)
  • Intersperse short punchy sentences among your longer ones

SPEAKING TOO QUICKLY WITH NO PAUSES
You’re like a runaway train. How will they know or care what’s important?

  • Your average speaking rate should be 125-150 words per minute
  • Pause to emphasize vocally key points. Put your lips together and breathe

REPEATING VOCAL PHRASES UNTIL THEY’VE LOST THEIR MEANING
Think silently rather than use “fillers” as verbal commas. Eliminate from your vocabulary:

  • “Um” / “Okay” / “You know” / “Basically” / “Right”

HAVING VISUAL MANNERISMS
Half your message is in your body language. Are you causing them to close their eyes rather than watch as you:

  • Dart your eyes around
  • Sway / rock / pace
  • Play with your keys / pen / ring / change in your pocket / glasses.

Instead, use gestures that are natural to you, sustain them longer than you would in normal conversation and make sure they match your message.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THEY’RE TURNING OFF?
WATCH FOR:

  • Leaning forward or back / folding arms to look at watch
  • Foot tapping / frequent change of position
  • Doodling / tapping the table
  • Eyes narrow / widen / glaze over / or no eye contact

WHAT TO DO TO RECONNECT

  • If you read boredom pick up your energy level / pace; become more crisp
  • If you read impatience throw out half your material; cut to the chase

By avoiding these presentation turn-offs and by being aware of your audience, you have a better chance of connecting with them so that they hear and act upon your message.

© The Prescott Group

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© The Prescott Group
11 Tunxis Avenue, Bloomfield, CT 06002       
Tel: (860) 242-9299   Fax: (860)243-2567
www.theprescottgroup.com