Recently I met with a business leader who was going to do a significant business presentation that week and asked if I could share some tips that would help her better connect so the people present would engage on the business proposal. By the way, this was a big business pitch! The stakes were high and it would be easy for any of us to be extremely nervous going into a room full of people who are going to be analysing our proposal critically, trying to find out whether it’s for them or not.
So I shared a number of practical tips for delivery as the content was solid and well planned. What surprised me was the feedback I got after the presentation. I’d shared a tip that I didn’t rate as a game changer but just a positive way to think. I got a message back that said,
“They were all great pieces of advice but that one was the best!”
So what was it?
“Love thy audience!”
One of the most helpful things you can do to reduce nerves, connect with the people in the room and deliver with confidence is make a decision to love the people in the room.
How do you do this?
Basically, empathise with the people in the room.
Know thy audience!
What are their needs, pressures, doubts, anxieties? What are their hopes, dreams, desires?
I often remind myself before any speaking event, especially if I feel intimidated by people in the audience that these people are like me in the sense that they most likely have busy lives, pressures and stresses, family dynamics, relationship challenges, health battles, mental health challenges etc. They also have hopes and dreams and vision and a passion to make a difference.
It’s always an honour to speak to these people.
So when I walk into the room I remind myself that even the most confident person in the room is human like I am and they need the same basic things I do.
It’s amazing how when I carry this attitude if effects the way I speak. I no longer need to be a performer, which is a terrible way to present, but instead, I can be my authentic self and bring whatever energy and passion is required to the context.
I find myself smiling more. As a matter of a fact when you love your audience it’s easier to like them and smile and have fun and be fully present to better connect with the vibe in the room.
It made all the difference to the presentation the business leader gave by calming nerves, developing empathy and connecting authentically. The feedback was fantastic and she was asked about whether she does a lot of speaking!
So…do this one thing next time you give a presentation.
Love thy audience.
FREE GUIDE: Before your next presentation avoid the TEN BIGGEST MISTAKES SPEAKERS MAKE