There are always some people in every audience who WILL fall asleep during your speeches. You will know you are to blame if you are practicing these 9 ways to put your audience to sleep. If you are, you will also get 9 tips how not to do so.
1. If you want your audience to snooze, be unfocused. Talk about a cat’s ear, peanuts and dynamite, Niagara Falls freezing and green coca cola all in one speech and make no attempt to connect them.
If you want them to hang on to your every word, start by always having a reason for speaking. An objective can sprout a can’t-get-lost outline which makes it effortless for your audience to follow your speech. Make it easy for them to listen and understand you. If your talk is about domestic animals, don’t talk about dragon flies and crocodiles.
2. If you want to lose your audience quickly, do not rehearse. Do not care what people think of you. Plan on forgetting what you want to say. You know you can do this in your sleep because you’ve done this presentation so many times before.
If you want to impress your audience, rehearse. Practice out loud and you will notice what needs to be changed, tweaked, lengthened or shortened. You will feel more confident.
3. If you want your audience to snooze, be predictable. Use common expressions and anecdotes. Take pride in being a copycat. Don’t step out of line and be original. Your audience is snoozing because they habituate to sameness from most presentations.
If you want to be memorable, why not give them a jolt? Dare to do something different, start in an unexpected way. If your talk is about spousal abuse, don’t start with statistics. That’s predictable. Why not approach the topic from a different perspective? Start with the ”rule of thumb’ law. It supposedly meant that a man may legally beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. This law to excuse spousal abuse can be traced as far back as 1782. You can talk about what was done about it then, now and what still needs to be done. Dare to do things differently.
4. If you want your audience to wish they had a hot chocolate and a blanket, deliver your speech in a monotonous voice and matching facial expression like Steven Segal. Unless you can fight like him and stimulate interest, your audience will thank you for the power nap. Also if you speak too slow or too fast, if you mumble, your listeners will tune you out.
If you want to keep them engaged, let your voice reflect your energy, passion, enthusiasm and commitment. The first impression you create is visual and the second one is vocal. The second impression creates a bigger and lasting impact. Read out loud every day and listen to your voice.
5. If you want to sound like you know what you are talking about, use inane phrases like these in every sentence: render inoperative, make itself felt, greatly to be desired, deserving of serious consideration, for all intents and purposes. Use acronyms and jargon and expect your listeners to know them. After all, if you know them, they should also!
The AGA in collaboration with the AMCA have engaged the ASPE as they await the contract with MWBBA. Decoded it means:
The American Gas Association in collaboration with Air Moving and Control Association have engaged the American Society of Plumbing Engineers as they await the contract with Midwest Bean-Bag Association.
If you want to keep your audience with you, use words, phrases, abbreviations and jargon they know. And you will know this because you asked questions to determine your objective and to know your audience
6. If you want your audience to snooze, be I- focused . Talk non-stop about you. Use the pronoun “I” in every sentence. Give your opinions, your suggestions, your thoughts.
A woman died and had to spell a word before she can get into heaven. The word was ‘love’. With such an easy word, she was allowed into heaven.
One day she was asked to be the gatekeeper for a short while and who should appear but her husband. She asked him how he coped after she died. He said after a short while, he married the beautiful nurse who took care of her while she was ill, then he won the lottery, sold the little house they lived in together and bought a big mansion. He and his wife travelled around the word. He was on vacation water skiing when he fell, hit his head and here he was. Then he asked: “How do I get in to Heaven?”
“You have to spell a word – Czechoslovakia.”
Ok, this story won’t put you to sleep. In fact it will agitate you.
If you want to be audience-focused, avoid using ‘I’ too often and ask questions to learn about your audience. Then you will prepare with them in mind.
7. If you have no desire to impact them, inform your audience. Leave out illustrations, metaphors, comparisons. Omit necessary steps of reasoning and make it difficult for them to understand. Do not inject your personality into your speech. Instead report it. Do not show any conviction, emotions.
If you want to impact them, know this. We all have access to the same information. We make it our own by blending it with our knowledge, experiences, culture and personality. It’s this unique spin that will make what you say memorable and meaningful for your listeners.
8: If you want your audience to leave your presentation dazed and confused, be long-winded like these examples:
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said but I am not sure that you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
“I am, not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.“
If you want to capture and hold your audience’s attention, use short sentences, more verbs and adjectives than nouns. Paint verbal pictures. If there are words you have difficulty pronouncing, use others or learn to pronounce them. Visit www.dictionary.com and m-w.com.
9. If you don’t want to ever see your audience again, let your voice match your appearance which must enhance the disorganized and meaningless message you are giving. Be 100% certain that you have the stamina to drone on longer than your allotted time. Show no regard for their questions and no respect for their intelligence. And to ensure that they remember you and tell all the people they know about you, give each person an evaluation form to fill out.
If you want your audience to leave the presentation with a couple of ‘aha’ moments, present your topic from a different perspective in an engaging way.
Dare to be different!
What are you willing to sacrifice to become the best speaker or presenter?
Nothing worthwhile or satisfying is ever achieved without a cost. Some things will be neglected, dropped or placed on low priority. Are you ready to miss out on family events, exist on a couple hours of sleep and even neglect your family? Recognize that this is temporary situation. Accept that you are a work in progress and getting better with each speech.