Public Speaking: 3 Simple Techniques to Skyrocket your Credibility when Presenting-Part 3 (Audience)
People who are new to public speaking commonly ask 3 questions. They want to overcome their anxiety. They want specific techniques to use. Perhaps you’ve prepared the valuable information for your presentation. You feel confident about the content you’ll be sharing. Maybe you’re giving a workshop. You’re knowledgeable, you’re excited. Yet you’re worried that your delivery will diminish your credibility. You find your mind racing with these common questions that people ask when they give presentations.
1. What is best to do with my body when I’m nervous?
2. What is best to do with my voice when I’m nervous?
3. How do I respond to my audience?
This article addresses the third of these 3 questions. Parts 1 and 2 answered the first two questions. These techniques will engage your audience. They’ll highlight you as credible about your topic. They’ll prove to put your fears at ease when employed. Here’s the answer to the third question.
How do I Read and Respond to my Audience?
Read your audience in their nonverbal behavior. Respond to your inner promptings. If you feel that you’re over-explaining something based on what you’re seeing in the faces and energy of your audience, address it. You could say “When I see the glazed look come over my audience’s faces, there are usually two explanations. Either you’ve synthesized the information already and are ready to move on, or you would like further information.” Watch the nonverbal language that you’re participants show you after you present each option. Read their cues.
If the consensus is that it’s time to move on to another topic, take your audience’s cues and definitely do so. An example of a transition you could use is “I can see that it looks like most of you have integrated this information. You’re ready to move on.” If you notice that the consensus is that they want more information, provide it. In the case that there are mixed responses, direct them to write their questions down on index cards that have already been placed at their tables. Tell them that you will address these questions at a different point in the presentation. Sometimes it is good to do this after a break.
In summary, to skyrocket your credibility by reading your audience, notice the nonverbal language they exhibit. Do they look interested? Do they look puzzled? Act accordingly. Provide clarification, offer those who need further explanation a chance to learn more at a later time, or change topics. These tips will keep your audience engaged. They’ll cause your audience to realize you care about their learning. They’ll increase your credibility. Ultimately, you and your audience members win.
Now go out there and ROCK your audience!