Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Working an Audience

London, UK

Last year I posted this over at Jeremy Jacobs.com The article highlights some of the methods you can use to "work your audience". Quite often when I'm speaking at my Toastmasters Club, I get members of the audience to get involved in one way or another.

Dealing with the Audience

• Here are some rules of thumb:

1. For everything from questions to eliciting comments to getting volunteers for crazy group activities, don’t spend time dragging someone who is clearly more comfortable not being in the limelight.

2. When crafting interactive exercises or activities for a seminar or presentation, consider the audience:

* have they seen this kind of thing before?
* Is it too advanced? Too juvenile? ? Too creative? Not creative enough?
* Too verbal? ? Does it require special skills?
* Will it embarrass people beyond where the audience will be comfortable?

3. Interact with your audience through elicit responses to questions you pose. To get answers, don’t merely say, for example, “Can anybody tell me something about their negative experiences in public speaking?” A more sure way to get responses might be to be more specific: “has anyone here ever had terrible speaking experience when called upon to?” Inevitably someone will nod. Gently ask someone who nods if they will elaborate and the conversation will begin. Others will be glad to give their comments if someone starts the ball rolling.

4. Bring people into your world. Ask them to help you by reading lists, or points you have pre-printed, or ask them to write on a flip chart. Give them prizes.

Keep your eyes peeled for more tips.

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