You’re putting yourself out there, which is brave. However, like many business owners, executives, and speakers, you may be struggling with this one question running on repeat — “How do I get them to…” (fill in the blank). That could be anything from, “buy my course”, to “pay attention to me”, to “listen to what I have to say”, and so many more. Regardless of what makes you nervous speaking to your audience, you’re not alone.
Here are 5 powerful ways to magnetize your audience so you can get and keep your audience’s attention:
1. Know Your Audience
First, you have to create your content for the audience you’re talking to. The presentation you give to your team should not be the same exact presentation you give to your investors. They have different interests, values, and concerns. If you tried to speak to those two different audiences in the same way, you’d leave everyone confused.
It’d be like trying to speak to computer programmers and makeup artists at the same time. They might both understand what you’re saying, but you’re not likely to get either audience to buy into your perspective without direct, focused attention on their issues, their values, and their unique solutions.
That’s why every time you speak, your signature talks must be tweaked to the demographic you are addressing. Business owners often show up looking for actionable advice and lean into stories that will help them shift their mindset to reach their goals. Executives, on the other hand, are looking for data-driven processes that will help them grow, while facing the unique challenges that come with a corporate setting.
There is one skill that will always keep your audience wanting more, that translates across every communication medium there is — storytelling. When you’re talking facts and figures, people usually tune out. Storytelling helps your audience connect and engage with the information you’re sharing.
Plus, storytelling actually helps your audience remember what you shared with them. All of a sudden, the ten tin shingles Ben got engraved with ten powerful memories for his 10th wedding anniversary for his spouse just became a much more powerful visual than the simple fact of “10th wedding anniversaries are represented by tin”. When you tell stories, you make memories.
“I’ll tell you a secret. Old storytellers never die. They disappear into their own story.” – Vera Nazarian
3. Look The Part
Seven seconds…that’s all the time you have to make a lasting impression on the audience you’re speaking to. This means that your outfit better be on point and fit the occasion. There are few things worse for a first impression than wearing something inappropriate or poorly put together.
You’ve got to remember that your clothes reflect your personality, awareness level, and authority. That means when people look at you, they’re subconsciously assessing if they can depend on your or not — if you can be trusted.
To avoid potentially negative on-sight first impressions, make sure your outfit is properly fitted and flatters your figure. You want to be comfortable so you can move with confidence. If you want to take it up a notch and truly command the space, choose the right color so no matter where you are in the room, eyes gravitate toward you.
Most importantly, you must look and feel like you—even when your look needs to be elevated. For example, if you wear jeans and a t-shirt most days but need to be suited up, find a suit you love. Otherwise you may feel restricted or inauthentic which will be apparent to everyone watching you. In fact, 55 percent of your presentation will be your body language so if you don’t feel confident in your attire, it will show in how you walk, stand, and move.
4. Create An Emotional Bond
Whether you are presenting to five people or 5,000 people, you must connect with your audience. Here are just a few ways to up your emotional bond game and magnetize your people.
- Start with a story instead of a “this is who I am” introduction. For example, walk them through how you have failed miserably with the first business you launched and then found success. Tie that back to what you’re going to teach them.
- Use silence for impact. Just a few seconds of pause after a key point or shocking statistic is essential. It’s also the perfect place for a visually engaging slide.
- Look into people’s eyes while you speak, especially if it looks like what you are saying is resonating with them. Keep individual eye contact between three to five seconds.
- Ask connection questions like “Has anyone here ever…”, then raise your hand to encourage the audience to do the same. This will increase inclusion and create authority.
- After asking the audience a question, ask someone to share. This will require you to respond on the fly so you must be ready.
- Tell a joke. Don’t worry if you aren’t the funniest person in the world. What is important is that the audience gets the reference. Inside jokes are often the best because they connect with the audience. For example, if you are presenting to video game designers, you could reference Cheetos and D&D and they would get it.
“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” – J.K. Rowling
5. End With A Bang
Your audience will always remember how your speech ended and how it made them feel. You’re either going to end with a bang, creating a surge of people who want to work with you, or you are going to end with crickets.
It’s all about a compelling ending. This might be a climax you’ve been building up to. A challenge or call to action. A final inspirational story. One last laugh. Whatever it is, make sure it’s scripted. It’s the final take away, the lasting impression, and you don’t want to leave it to chance.