How to Connect with Your Audience During a Speech

Public Speaking Trap – Not Connecting With Your Audience

Not Connecting with Your Audience is something that is discussed frequently, however I think it is important that this article presents a trap from each part of your speech that causes you not to connect with your audience. If you understand how you are not connecting in each part of your speech, you will have the knowledge you need to correct your presentation so that you connect with power.

The Opening – A Boring Opening

“Thank you for inviting me to speak today. My name is Chris Elliott and I am going to talk to you about….”, so says the speaker that is putting the audience to sleep.

The first trap that will cause you not to connect with your audience is a boring opening. You can thank the organizers for bringing you in to speak after you are done. Your job during the opening is to start off with a story, a poignant result, or a key benefit that will capture the audience’s attention in the first few moments of your presentation. Failure to do so will label you as a boring speaker and you will not capture the full attention of the audience.

The Middle – The Curse of Knowledge

The Curse of Knowledge is a concept from the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. Basically it means that you know too much about a topic and talk as if everyone has the same knowledge of the topic as you. I see people fall into this trap this many times when hitting their stride in the middle of their speech. The Curse of Knowledge can strike in any presentations, but is most often seen in technical and academic presentations. It is demonstrated by speakers using technical lingo, buzzwords, or technical babble that not everyone knows.

The Close – Not Calling the Audience to Action

So you have avoided all of the Public Speaking Traps as you reach the end of your speech and have delivered a dynamic speech filled with relevant, useful, and engaging information. How do you conclude the speech? Do you just summarize what you told them, or do you call the audience to take action and use the information you have presented.

If you are just summarizing what you told the audience, then you are falling prey to the trap of not calling the audience to action which breaks the connection you have strived to keep through the presentation. Not calling the audience to action leaves the audience with a summary of what you talked about, but no marching orders on what to do next. That leaves the audience thinking, “OK that was a good speech, but now what?”

The trap of not connecting with your audience is the most important trap to avoid. It is filled with many other traps that can cause you to speak at and not with your audience. Avoiding the trap of not connecting is not easy and takes many hours of diligent preparation, practice, and coaching. As you study the traps of public speaking, I urge you to join Toastmasters, get a coach, and practice speaking with you audiences. I promise you that if you learn the essentials, your audience will thank you.

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About the Author:

Chris Elliott serves as a leader for supply chain and international non-profit organizations. He has an unshakable habit of lifelong learning and uses his knowledge and experiences during his speaking engagements, workshops, consulting projects, and one-on-one coaching sessions. The result… connecting people and empowering change.

In his presentations 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 at so he can deliver the results that you need to be successful.

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