How to make an immediate impression on your audience
In this day and age there’s no excuse for not grabbing an audience from the minute you step up to the plate (as Michelle Villalobos does so expertly here!).
To give yourself an edge, here’s a few tips to help you with audience engagement and give yourself the best possible chance of winning over any audience to your charms.
1. Homework needs to be done
Advance homework can be anything from rehearsing your presentation or speech to knowing your audience before you step on stage.
Every piece of preparation you do will reap dividends if you do it clearly and strategically.
So, craft your message.
Practice your delivery. In front of a mirror. On camera. On tape.
Ask yourself two questions about your audience:
- Who is my audience?
- Why should they listen to me?
Because remember this.
Audiences are selfish.
They are always asking themselves “What’s in it for me?”, and if they don’t hear it in at most the first 30 seconds — and increasingly that timeframe is getting shorter and shorter — they’ll be unconsciously looking for the first opportunity to tune you out.
2. Think about the intro
If you get to present on a regular basis for your company or at international meetings, presentations, or conferences, you’ll more than likely be introduced by someone else.
If at all possible, try to have the top dog introduce you.
When at all possible, have that person be the highest person in the company.
This will give you automatic street cred with an audience that may not know you. It will ensure audience engagement from the outset.
If it’s not possible to get the highest profile person in the company or organisation to introduce you, actively seek out the next best option.
You owe this to yourself, and your audience.
Basically this means get a client or someone the audience knows to introduce you.
Remember, audiences trust what they know. People trust what is familiar to them.
So if someone gets up there and speaks from the heart about you and what you’ve done to make a difference in their professional life, you’ll already have scored points with the audience in the credibility department before you even open your mouth.
3. Harness social media power for “the law of six”
Never underestimate the power of social media.
These days people typically meet each other on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube before they see each other in the flesh.
There are so many social platforms to choose from and if we go by the law of 6 that advertisers follow — it takes 6 “Yes’s” to make a sale — then hitting your perspective audience in six different ways across social media will let them know who you are and make them familiar with your accomplishments before you meet them.
You are branding yourself.
LinkedIn, webinars, Facebook Live, direct mail, event hashtags, Instagram, YouTube⸺all these are kosher forms of contact for reaching out to your audience before you meet them.