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6 of 10 : Public Speaking – The audience are slow to react because they are asked the wrong questions

Mistakes & Observations Public Speakers make at Corporate Conferences
(and how to avoid them) cont… part 6 of 10

Sometimes directly asking an audience “Do you like the new announcements?” or “What do you think of the new announcements?” can get mixed responses.

They are not particularly unhelpful questions in themselves, but when speaking to a large audience then there is the potential for different reactions.

As an audience, they have a “role” primarily to “listen”. Therefore it can take time to get an answer. An audience (particularly a British one) need a little notice that you want them to respond and that you are “giving them permission” to react and make a noise. If you do not warn them, then you will get a quieter response, which can potentially embarrass the speaker. It can turn into a pantomime style of interaction of “I can’t hear you..!?” Group dynamics could also have a negative influence by people thinking to themselves “oh wow, that sounds good”, but then that message being undermined by a weak audience response.

At the start of the event the host introducing the idea of being excited and cheering when hearing announcements is standard practice. I would also recommend each speaker doing it themselves so that the audience know what they want them to do.

To reduce the likelihood of a weak response then consider being as blunt as saying something like these phrases:

“In a moment I am going to ask you a question to hear what you think/how you feel about it, but before that…”

“Let me ask you this…”

“Would it be ok if I ask for your response to something?…”

Are you ok with your next presentation just being good?

I have seen highly paid senior management people such as the CEO, Executive Chair and non-exec Directors,  as well as first time on stage speakers make these common mistakes. Hence, now we have explored six of the ten main mistakes that public speakers make, if you want to ensure your next presentation is better than anyone expected, then feel free to get in contact via LinkedIn or this website by clicking on “Message Matt” menu and complete the Contact Form and I will get back in touch so we can speak.

Helping the best become better.

Matthew Broomhead

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