Is the audience ready? Are they ready to listen? Comfortably seated and ready to give you their full attention?
I see it happening over and over again…and if you are doing it, stop.
If you are beginning your speech or presentation and the audience isn’t ready to hear what you are saying, you need to stop talking. Wait until the audience gives you 100% of their attention.
As a rule, when a speaker is introduced and walks on stage, the audience applauds. It’s at this point where I’ve watched speakers do the unthinkable. It’s unthinkable because they are not thinking about what they’re doing.
The speakers are on auto-pilot. They move immediately into speaking mode, focused more on themselves and what they have to say, than their audience. Perhaps the speakers are nervous, uncomfortable or not fully prepared. As a result, their attention is not on their audience. So when they get on stage even though the audience hasn’t finished applauding, that doesn’t seem to register on the speaker’s radar screen.
The size of the audience doesn’t matter. Location of the audience: boardroom, auditorium or standing at a job-site doesn’t matter. What matters is … Is the audience ready for you – as the speaker, as the presenter? If the answer is, no, then why would you begin your presentation?
Speaking before you have the undivided attention of the people sitting in front of you is a disservice.
It’s a disservice to you, as the speaker because you have missed a prime opportunity to connect with audience right from the beginning. As well, your introduction of the topic is seriously compromised when your audience isn’t ready to listen.
It is a disservice to your audience because they have come with the intent of adding something of value to their day, and have committed to giving you their time.
If you are like most people, you’ve spent a good chunk of time and put enormous effort into your speech. So, the next time before you begin your speech, ask yourself, “Is the audience ready?”
It’s only when your audience is ready for you, and you have 100% of their attention that they will hear and appreciate every word you have to say.