When you are speaking, it’s not about you. It’s about the audience.
You see it in corporate presentations, professional seminars, and yes, even Toastmasters clubs… the speaker focusing on themselves and not the audience. This is the death blow for keeping your audience interested in your speech and it will cause people to not want to listen to you speak.
Don’t worry, you are in good company. Every speaker at some point will get an inner focus. It happens when trying to present unfamiliar material, have not internalized the message, or when you are talking about a personal story. Sometimes you just get wrapped up so much into the “You” of the speech, that you forget the “Them,” the audience.
It happens. So what can we do to prevent navel gazing during our pontifications (I mean, speeches)?
1. Internalize Your Presentations –
When you don’t know your material from every angle and point of view, you will not be able to understand the audience’s view of your speech. Practice it, read it into a recorder, put your heart into it, or whatever you have to do know the material….do it. Without a complete understanding, you will spend more time in your own head trying not to step on your lines then you will be delivering those lines.
2. Know the Audience –
Who are you speaking to? Have you interacted with your audience? These are some of the questions you need to answer before speaking. When you don’t know your audience, it makes it tough to know what they want and what they are thinking. When you don’t know that, then you are thinking about that during your speech and it is obvious as you deliver.
3. I / You Ratio –
This is one of the tips given constantly by the World Champions of Public Speaking and Patricia Fripp. When you are transcribing your speeches, count how many times you have said “You” versus “I” in your speech. If you have said “I” many more times than “You”, then the audience might be thinking you have an ego problem, but more than likely you have just done too much navel gazing.
So next time you present, if you think you are not connecting with the audience, you aren’t. The reason you aren’t is because you are too inside of your own head. To prevent navel gazing, internalize, know, say “you.” Connect, connect, connect. That is the fastest way to get out of your head, and make the audience love you.
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Chris Elliott is a professional speaker and blogger. In his presentations and articles on personal success, employee morale, technology selection, and supply chain issues, Chris Elliott brings a unique perspective to help you solve the problems that affects your business. Contact Chris Elliott today so he can deliver the results that you need to be successful.
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For more tips on how you can become a better speaker or go from free to fee, check out his blog at http://mytoastmastersblog.com
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