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5 Practical Tips to Engage with Your Audience Up Front

Date Posted: 04/17/2019
Public speaking, in any form, is never easy. Using these five practical tips to engage your audience up front will help make it a lot easier—and more fun!

1) Know Your Audience

Before you begin, take the time to know and understand your audience. ‘Who’ is your audience? ‘What’ do they want? Then, ask yourself possibly the most important question of all: ‘Why’ do you need them? Or, better put (and, pardon my language), ‘why’ the f*ck should they care?!

Effective communication is about understanding it’s NOT about you! Instead, effectively engaging your audience succeeds when you know you’re giving them what they need–in any context or situation.

2) Tell a Story

5 Practical Tips to Engage with Audience Up Front
As humans, we are not machines trained to absorb information. By beginning with a story, we make an emotional connection with the audience. Stories make us feel good, help to break down barriers, and are more likely to change behaviors.

A compelling story should solve the problem of the audience you’re engaging. Staying on topic, connect your story to the message. If you need to change the subject, then change it, but don’t wander. Stay on point and remember why you’re engaging your audience.

And remember, regardless if you’re telling an anecdote from your life, it’s NOT about you! All of us, irrespective of who we are or where we come, bring to the table an agenda of our own—it’s just human nature.

Again, ask yourself: who’s your audience, what do they want, and why should they care?! And, talk about yourself only in context of what you’re presenting.

3) Find Power in Your Voice with Pauses

As humans, we learn at a very early age how to understand body language to emotionally connect and decide very quickly if we intuitively know, like, and trust the person speaking.

If you’re nervous, your audience will pick up on it instantly. When you’re worried, your speech is faster, and your audience will know you’re nervous.

Finding your voice comes in the power of the silence. You can control the rate of your speech for more power and impact in the delivery of your message by adding pauses.

Pauses separate thoughts and help engage your audience by drawing them in. When practicing your speech delivery, notice when the “and, uhhs” or “uhms” arise. Try replacing them with pauses.

When you make a pause, your audience can collect their thoughts. Plus, it gives you time to check in and know if they are following along with you or not. Adding breaks to your speech will help your message sink in and clarify the importance of your topic.

4) Be Yourself via Heart-Mind Harmony

5 Practical Tips to Engage with Audience Up FrontBefore you begin speaking, or writing for that matter, start with a smile. The easiest way to put a smile on your face is through a technique called “heart-mind harmony.” Heart-mind harmony is, as it sounds, the intention of creating coherence between our heart and mind.

By taking the time to create heart-mind harmony, we instantly relax, slow our breath, and bring awareness to the present moment. Being present in the moment, it’s much easier to be yourself.

The technique of creating heart-mind harmony is easy, and you can create the coherence instantly:

  • Place your hand over your heart, immediately bring awareness to the heart;
  • Slow your breath by taking a short pause after the inhale and another pause after the exhale;
  • Focusing on your audience—mentally send them gratitude, kindness, compassion, or love;
  • That’s it! Use your internal energy and power to be yourself.

You don’t have to be “on” the entire time, but by using the “heart-mind harmony” technique to bring awareness to the present moment, you instantly calm your nerves and take your focus off yourself. When you’re present, you’re ready to begin.  Focused on your audience and the message, the nervousness goes away, and you’re ready to engage your audience with confidence with clarity of thought.

5) Have Fun and Enjoy Yourself!

Having fun and enjoying yourself means remembering one simple fact: what other people think about you, is NOT your problem!” Our brains translate language into emotions through imagination of our own beliefs. People are going to be judging you; it’s human nature—so, let it go. 

As well, you don’t have to be the funniest. But, it certainly helps. When people are laughing, they are more receptive, and it allows them to come back to you. Like any good stand up comedian, know the joke in advance. Practice and rehearse the delivery and make sure the humor is on topic with your message and connects with your audience’s ‘why.’

Finally, to err is human, none of us are perfect. And besides, mistakes are just lessons learned.

Engage Your Audience Up Front with Confidence

Whether you’re having coffee with friends at a cafe, broadcasting live on social media, or speaking publicly in front of a crowd; use these five techniques to more effectively engage with your audience up front. Remember: know who they are, tell a story, and find power in the silence of pauses. Be yourself via “heart-mind harmony.” And finally, have fun—enjoy just being you!

Do you struggle with confidently engaging your audience? What techniques have you used to better engage your audience? Share your experience in the comments below.

  • Blog post inspired by Gregg Braden from Missing Links on Read his blog post on “Resilience from the Heart.
  • Artwork in this blog post created by heart-centered creator, Jason Holland. Described as a “primitive art with a modern twist,” Jason Holland’s artwork is a mixed-medium of pastels on canvas with a vibrant color palette.
Jason Holland

Who is Jason Holland?

Jason Holland is a heart-centered creator who helps businesses and individuals grow through three interconnected areas:

  • Online Brand Strategy and Design, and Creative Director
  • Meditation, Mindfulness, and Higher Consciousness Awakening
  • Artistry, Creative Living, and Mindful Travel

Read Jason’s story »

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