It doesn’t matter if you’re in a management meeting, staff meeting, making a presentation or giving a key note address at your local Chamber of Commerce. When people in the audience are more interested in Uncle Charlie’s emails than listening to you, the problem isn’t bad manners. It’s about not connecting with your audience and not holding their attention.
So here is The Creative Concepts Group’s 5 secrets to keep people from checking emails when you speak. Learn the 5 secrets to be a great speaker. To captivate the audience, have them nodding their heads in agreement, generating applause or even creating a buzz in the room when you make a point – even if they’re disagreeing with you.
Know Your Audience
The first secret to keep people from checking emails when you speak is to know your audience. Why were you invited to speak to this group? Who are these people who will take time out of their busy schedules to sit and listen to what you have to say? How will they benefit from your talk.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a group of 20 people or 200 people. Find out what is expected of you. Talk to the organizers and ask them for a profile of the audience. Chances are you’re speaking to them because they want you to share your expertise. They want to know whatever you did that got you the invitation to speak. At work, it might be about your vision for the future of the company, new products or services you believe will improve the bottom line of your department or how to improve staff morale.
Dream About Your Speech
The second secret to keep people from checking emails when you speak starts with taking the time to dream about what you want to say. You need to hear your speech in your head. You need to hear how you want to tell the story to your audience. The more you dream about it, the more focused your story becomes. The more you will connect with your audience. You’ll know when it’s time to stop dreaming and start writing when you hear in your head how you will start the speech and how you want to end it.
Write Out Loud
The third secret to keep people from checking emails when you speak is to voice the words you are typing. By reading out loud, you’re writing for the ear of the listener – not the eyes of a reader. As you write, read it out loud to make sure it sounds like it did when you were dreaming about how you will sound.
By writing it as it sounds, you will know when you want to pause, when to raise your voice or lower your voice for effect. You will indicate a pause by adding dots like this ….. You can bold the text to indicate you want to lower your voice for effect and WRITE IN ALL CAPS when you want to raise your voice. You can do this because you’re voicing the script as you write it. If it doesn’t sound right as you type, you can delete the sentence and start over again to type in the words that work for you.
Make it easy to read the text
The fourth secret to keep people from checking emails when you speak is making sure you can read the text without any distractions. When you type your speech, use a large font that is easy for you to read – even if you forget your reading glasses. Do not split a paragraph at the end of a page. Push that broken paragraph to the top of the next page. If you don’t, it will NOT be read the way it was written to sound. There will be a pause where they shouldn’t be, as you flip to the next page to continue reading the rest of the paragraph. Don’t staple the pages together because you will have to move each page up and over to see the next page. It’s better to use a paperclip to hold the pages in order. When it is time to deliver your speech, remove the paperclip to free up the pages making it easier to read from page to page.
WOW your audience
The fifth secret to keep people from checking emails when you speak is to put on a great performance. You’ve done your homework. You know the audience. You know what they want to hear you talk about. You’ve written the text to match how you want to deliver it. You’ve rehearsed it and read it the way you heard it when you dreamt about giving the speech. All that is left for you to do is WOW the audience with your performance.
It starts with your voice. Be animated. It continues with your body language to drive home the point you want to make. Speak with your hands. Connect with the audience by gesturing to the crowd in front of you, to your left, to your right and to the back of the room. People will think you’re looking at them. They aren’t thinking of Uncle Charlie’s message on their smart phone. They’re caught up in the performance of you talking to them.
At The Creative Concepts Group, we understand that public speaking isn’t everyone’s thing. Fair enough. Maybe your energy is best focused on building your business. Contact The Creative Concepts Group at 905-853-5778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation on how we can help write and coach you to deliver a great speech.
Managing Partner of The Creative Concepts Group