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You don't get an audience. You create it.

Annikaa A.
25/04/2017 0 0

What came first - the chick or the egg ?

Don't worry, I am not digressing. While it may not be easy to answer this question, let me put forth another -

They say, "Listen before you speak."

What do I listen to, if nothing has been spoken?"

It is simply assumed that the group of people in front of whom you are supposed to speak, is your audience; that they are there to listen to you.

The fact of the matter is - It is a quid pro quo kind of a deal. 

When you stand in front of 10 or 200 people, what you initially have is a crowd. They turn into your audience when you listen to their needs. 

Now, no one is going to stand up and before you begin, tell what they want. It is for you to answer these questions -

  • What is the purpose of my speech or presentation?
  • What would the people like to hear? Is there any particular emotion I wish to evoke.
  • How loud should I be while speaking so that the person in the last row can hear me and yet the eardrums of the person in the front seat, are not ruptured?

With the abundance of content on the internet and books, this would help you to structure your speech. It would help to decide what needs to be included and that which needs to be left out.

For example, you need to talk about something that you love.

Now your passion for, say cricket, makes you download pages of information on the 'gentleman's game'. Next day, you stand on the stage to pour that knowledge in front of the people, only to end up having a handful of people paying attention to you. 

This is because an essential component was missed - Love.

The idea is to first let the people know as to why you love the game. It is important to share the passion and get people on board before the information can be disseminated.

However, no matter how good your content is, if you are barely audible beyond the first row,people are not going to put any extra effort to try to listen, 

I have used the term 'Your audience' and not 'Audience' for the simple reason that those who become interested in listening to you, turn into your audience. They may not act in the same manner with the person who comes up next. 

To create a larger audience, eye contact plays a vital role.

Standing on the stage, you are supposed to be the centre of attention. However, everyone likes to feel important and the people who are there to listen to you, are no different.

It is not about looking in the eyes of each person, but rather addressing all as a group, instead of just favoring those sitting on one side.

Having said all this, let me share one bitter truth.

There might be some who, even after you have put in all the efforts, would still not listen. It is probably because they are not there by their own choice or have come with the simple intention of creating distraction.

Instead of focussing on these, whom I call 'seat fillers', give your complete attention to your audience. However, if the former comprises a sizeable number, it is time to revisit the questions.

 

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