The art of captivating an audience can take years to develop. A few quick tips How :
You’ve been asked to speak at an important event. It’s a great opportunity and you should be thrilled—but since you rarely speak, especially in a formal setting, all you can think about is bombing.
Unfortunately, captivating an audience is definitely a skill that takes years to develop and hone. Since you don’t have that kind of time, here are five unconventional ways to become a better speaker almost overnight:
1. Share an emotional story. Admitting a mistake is great but not when used simply to show how far you’ve come. Instead just tell a story that relates to your topic and let your emotions show. If you were sad, say so. If you cried, say so. If you felt remorse, let it show. When you share real feelings you create an immediate and lasting connection with the audience. Emotion trumps speaking skills every time.
2. Pause for 8 to 10 seconds. There’s a weird phenomena that occurs when you stop talking. Pause for two or three seconds, the audience assume you lost your place. Pause for five seconds and the audience begins to think the pause is intentional… and starts wondering why. Pause for ten seconds and even the people who were immersed in Angry Birds can’t resist looking up.
Then when you start speaking again, the audience naturally 1) assumes the pause was intentional and 2) decides you’re actually a confident and accomplished speaker. Like nature a poor speaker abhors a vacuum and rushes to fill it, and only confident speakers—like you—feel secure in silence. While it won’t be easy, take one long pause to gather your thoughts and the audience will automatically give you speaker bonus points.
3. Ask a question the audience—and you—can’t answer. Speakers ask questions to engage the audience but that technique is often forced and tends to work about as well as this. Instead ask a question you know the audience can’t answer and then say,” That’s okay. I can’t either.” Explain why you can’t and then talk about what you do know. Most speakers have all the answers; the fact you don’t—and are willing to admit it—not only humanizes you but makes the audience pay greater attention to what you do know.
4. Find one thing no one knows. I’ve never heard someone say, “I was at this presentation the other day and the guy’s Gantt chart was amazing…” I have heard someone say, “Did you know when you blush the lining of your stomach also turns red?” Find a surprising fact or an unusual analogy that relates to your topic. Audiences love to cock their heads and think, “Hmmm…”
5. Keep Moving. That makes the audience attracted towards your movements. Your hand movements. Your expressions are noticed. Are noted. Are appreciated. It shows your confidence on stage.