How to have your audience at hello
Jack, one of our clients was preparing to present at a Road Show. We asked Jack what his audience would be thinking and he answered honestly with this. “Well when I was on the other side of the fence and had to attend Road Shows, I would often think ‘Not another bloody road show’, so I have no doubt that this is exactly what most people will be thinking”.
Jack used this knowledge and started his presentation with “So I know you are all probably thinking, not another bloody Road Show”. Everyone immediately laughed, they had been outed, but the audience also felt understood as Jack acknowledged what they were thinking. Jack was immediately on the audience’s side and they thought this speaker isn’t too bad, let’s listen to what follows.
Once we attended a 7:30 breakfast presentation where the CEO of Carmen’s Muesli, Carolyn Creswell was presenting. She started by saying, “When the alarm went off this morning I thought this breakfast seminar better be good. And then I thought Shit I better be good!”. The audience laughed and connected with her straight away.
Depending on what you are able to find out about your audience always try and tap into what your audience is thinking and use that as part of your presentation.
In fact we often recommend you begin with that, like Jack and Carolyn Creswell. If your first line is about the audience then like the line from the film Jerry Maguire “You have them at hello“.
So, what is the first line you say when you present? The first few moments of your presentation are really important, this is when you can get your audience to connect with you, or not.
Connecting with your audience as fast as you can is vital. You need to figure out how you can ‘have them at hello’. You only other choice as a presenter is to lose them at hello.