Speaking to a Large Group Versus a Small One

In addressing an audience, be it to 4 people or 400, one factor will remain the same: the format of your presentation. You will still have an opening, a development, and a closing. However, there are major differences in your delivery as well as your contact with your audience which is dependent on the size of your group.

You will need more volume if you are speaking to a large audience. While this may seem like a no-brainer, many people are not good at judging whether they are being heard well or not. If those in the back of the room are straining to hear your words, they will eventually stop listening. And, when they stop listening, your message is lost.

While speakers often test their volume output before the engagement begins, speaking to an empty room versus a filled room are two different animals. A room filled with people is noisier than an empty room even if those in attendance are quiet. Therefore, you must compensate when you choose your volume level, allowing for an increase in volume dependent on the number of seats filled in the room as well as the noise level of the room. Air conditioning vents and white noise both create additional sound. So, too, does sneezing, coughing, and the shuffling of papers.

You will need to physically scan the room, acknowledging your audience with a wider sweep of your body, your head, and your eyes. Pay particular attention to those on your far right and far left because these two extreme sides are often missed by speakers.

With a small audience it is easy to make eye contact with each individual but in addressing a larger group, making eye contact is only possible by focusing on different areas of your audience. When that happens, each person within that one specific realm will think you are looking directly at him/her.

When using visual/audio aids, make sure that they can be seen or heard by all. If you are playing audio, for example, can those in the back hear the words or music? If using video, on the other hand, a 21-inch TV monitor is not going to be appropriate. You will need an overhead projector with a large screen. If you like to use a white board or poster board, can your words to read by those in the last row?

While a dynamic delivery is the goal of everyone in public speaking, if you cannot be seen or heard or your visual aids are not readable, then you are losing half the battle. Part of the secret of good public speaking is to be confident that what you say and what you do is comfortably seen and heard by everyone in the room, not just those lucky few in the front row.

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The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, Click Here. Visit The Voice Lady’s blog and watch a brief video as she describes Dynamic Public Speaking.

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