I should have walked out – a speaker’s mistake and 5 tips that could have prevented it

At a conference last week there were so many workshops I wanted to go to. I finally selected one and settled down for an hour of new ideas. I was excited about what I was going to learn. The speaker opened with “OK let’s get started. I know you are all tired and I KNOW that I am really tired, so let’s get going.”
Sigh…. I should have walked out right then. Below are 5 quick tips I would have liked to share with her.

Clearly she didn’t understand that “your audience will never rise above your level of enthusiasm”. Whether you are trying to influence an audience of 1 or many, enthusiasm is contagious. If you don’t lead the energy dance there will be no energy at all!

Here are just 5 tips from my workshop for speakers that I would have liked to share with her:

  1. Love your topic! Remember enthusiasm comes from your heart. You must love the content you are sharing and even your audience. Find your “why” that is meaningful to you.
  2. Think about THEM not you. Get out of your mind and get into theirs. Where do they stand on your issue? What are their challenges? What do they most want to learn? Gain their trust by showing them that you understand their needs. Asking questions and listening intently can help you.
  3. Jump up and down. If your mind doesn’t feel enthusiastic your body can fake it ’til you make it! OK so you might want to find a private place for this. It really works. If you can’t find a place, at least focus on your breathing. Gradually increase the depth and speed of your breathing.
  4. Don’t be self-conscious. On stage, everything can be exaggerated including your expressions, movements, tone.
  5. Be the main focus. Your ppt or visual aid is just that – an aid. Not the main show. It should only support you to accentuate points with memorable images or words. If it looks like a hand out – make it a hand out!

And remember…an audience’s biggest turn-on is the speaker’s obvious enthusiasm.

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