Top 7 Ways to Maximize Your Speaking Opportunity with a Small Audience
By Bill Lampton, Ph.D.
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Most of us have spoken to small audiences sometimes disappointingly small. Deflated, we might have felt our enthusiasm disappearing: This little group, we muttered to ourselves, is hardly worth the effort. However, we should consider an audience of two or twenty people equally as significant and deserving as an audience of two hundred or two thousand. To make the most of your opportunities with a small audience, follow these pointers.
- Keep Your Attitude Positive.
Recognize that this audience has given you some treasured gifts. One is their time, the hour they will listen to you and the hours it took them to get there. Another is their respect, which their invitation indicated directly—and which they will confirm as they listen intently. Be grateful for their gifts and give them, most sincerely, your top-tier content and delivery.
- Use Only Upbeat Words When Talking About Your Audience
Avoid saying to anyone, especially your host, that you are dejected about the number who came to the event. If you refer to the crowd at all privately or publicly, praise them for coming. You might even clap and get them to join you in applauding themselves.
- Give Visible Cues That Reflect Enthusiasm and Involvement
Be sure your nonverbal communication is as upbeat and positive as it would be for a crowd ten times this size. Without having to do any acting at all, look jovial, smile plenty, appear animated, and send vibes of unflagging zest.
- Meet Your Audience Members One by One
Meet every audience member before you begin, and chat for a minute as you cannot do with a thousand attendees. Imagine the boost in expectation and support when you have greeted each individual personally.
- Rely on Frequent Interaction
Introduce more interactive exercises--related to your topic of course--than you might use ordinarily. Some who would be too shy to voice their opinions to a packed auditorium will become quite vocal among twenty people. Welcome the likelihood of greater input, and facilitate it vigorously.
- Give your complete, unabridged presentation
Smaller crowds don't mean that you will shorten your talk. Ever been to a movie theater that was only one-third full? The movie ran in its entirety, didn't it? Sure, because that's what the customers came to see. Likewise, those who take their seats for your speech expect to get every reel of your presentation.
- Offer More Extensive Follow Up
Offer more personalized follow up that you couldn’t offer for a massive group. “Please take my business card afterward, and feel free to call me next week with any one specific question you’d like to discuss with me. I’ll be glad to talk with each of you for ten minutes, to see how I can address the one problem or issue you’ll describe.” Everybody won’t take you up on your generous offer, but all of them will welcome your willingness to help after the meeting.
Bill Lampton, Ph.D., "Speech Coach for Champions," helps clients speak with "poise, power, and persuasion," so they will generate "attention, agreement, and action." His top-tier client list includes Gillette, Duracell, Procter and Gamble, Ritz-Carlton Cancun, and Celebrity Cruises. Visit his Web site to sign up for his complimentary online newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/otlcgz. Call him: 678-316-4300 Subscribe to his "Speech Coaching Radio" podcasts: http://tinyurl.com/4jype49.
Article Submitted On: June 13, 2011