When You Speak, Does the Audience Want to Come Along?
Imagine you’re preparing a 45-minute speech for an influential group of business people. If you nail this talk, you’ll be asked to speak to other groups. Your career could reach new heights.
You prepare your best material. You’re ready. The opening gets their attention. You share your best stories. This is the most enthusiastic and energetic presentation of your life.
After your conclusion, you walk off stage to… subdued, polite applause. No one seeks you out, no one asks questions. Your big chance just… fell… flat…
Is It Audience Overload?
It’s possible that you prepared too much material. The audience didn’t have a chance to be a part of your presentation. To quote an old speaking mantra:
“If you crowd your information in, you crowd your audience out.”
‘Crowding them out’ means that you present too many ideas. You don’t allow the audience time to reflect on key points. They can’t take a break between your main points. They don’t have time to laugh at your humor.
Think about eating a delicious meal. At some point, you’re full, No matter how delicious the food, if you keep eating, you won’t enjoy the experience. Speaking works the same way.
The most common reason for this is that you have passion about your subject. You want to speak about everything you know. Although your heart is in the right place, you’re creating discomfort for your audience. It’s too much information in too short a time.
How to Avoid Making Them Feel Full
This is not an uncommon problem. Fortunately, it’s solvable.
How do you avoid overloading your audience?
First, have one main theme.
Imagine your speech is about ‘How to Reduce Nervousness When You Speak.’ You shouldn’t also talk about ‘How to Market Your Speeches to Your Local Business Community. ’ Stay focused on one main theme.
Second, each sub-point should support the main point.
It should be no more than 10 minutes in length. In a 45-minute speech, share no more than 3 or 4 supporting points.
Why just three or four? You need a few minutes for your opening, a few for your conclusion, and transition time between points. It’s better to focus on a few impactful ideas. This allows them time to ponder the implication to their lives. Give them too many ideas and they won’t have time to consider any of them.
Third, vary your delivery.
Alter your pitch, rate of speed, and volume. Think of it like riding a roller coaster: sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Occasionally going higher, at times lower. I recently watched a presentation. Early in the talk, the speaker captured our attention. He provided excellent content.
Halfway through the presentation, I noticed some people were uncomfortable. I believe it was because his higher pitched voice and rapid delivery were grating on their nerves. There was no break in his delivery style. I was exhausted after his 45-minute talk. I’m sure others were, too.
Remember These Three Keys
As you write your next speech, remember, less is more. Focus on the most important points. Give the audience time to think and feel. You’ll more likely leave them with a message that makes a difference.
What experiences have you had with speakers who crowd out their audiences? You are invited to leave your thoughts below:
Dynamic Delivery Devices by Craig Valentine. Craig is a very successful professional speaker and my main mentor. One of his strengths is his ability to deliver his speeches in a conversational style and ‘put you in the scene’ when he shares his stories.
In this DVD program, Craig delves deeply into dozens of delivery tools that help your speeches and stories come to life, create an edge of their seats experience for your audience, and keeps their attention from beginning to end.
If you want to save years of learning time and become known as a speaker who creates an experience, I highly recommend this program.
Click here for additional details. After clicking the link, scroll down to the Dynamic Delivery Devices 3-DVD set for Speakers. Click on the More Information tab.