Getting The Audience To Like You
Date: November 12, 2015
Apart from fearing that your content isn’t interesting enough, trying not to mix up your lines and control your nerves, you have to add this to your worries – getting your audience to like you.
To make a difference and enable your listeners to care about what you’re saying, you have to SOMEHOW make your audience fall in love with you.
Think of your favourite public speaker, or a time you were blown away by someone’s stage presence. What was it that made them stand out? You won’t be able to put your hand on just one thing, but a mixture of their content, personality and confidence.
Here are some constructive ways for getting the audience to like you.
Be Friendly To Your Audience
Nobody likes someone who loves themselves, thinks they’re better than everyone else and believes that they’re the expert. Cockiness isn’t a likable tribute.
If you stand on stage and create a barrier between you and the audience, you’re creating a hierarchy that people won’t like. The point of a speech is to move people, help them to learn something new and inspire them. If you don’t come across as ‘like them’, they won’t respond well to you.
Avoid using difficult terms, complicated words and don’t walk around the stage with your head held too high. Clear dictation is good, but overly pronouncing every word for ‘effect’ becomes annoying and makes you look like you know it all.
So, how do you come across as friendly…?
There are many ways to do this. Spend time with your audience before you’re on stage and introduce yourself to them by greeting them at the door and walking around the tables and making small talk.
People like it when you ask about their day and ask them questions about themselves. It shows you’re selfless and friendly. Try not to talk about yourself, including what topics you’ll touch on in your presentation, what experience you have and your career. If you’re cocky, people won’t like you.
Making an effort to speak with listeners will make your life easier because you don’t have to ‘win them over’ when you’re on stage, because you’ll have already created a solid foundation beforehand. You’ll feel more comfortable speaking in front of people you’ve already met.
If possible, speak with the event organiser BEFORE the event to find out your audience’s ages, interests, demographics and knowledge. This will enable you to create a speech that is suitable for them, rather than guessing what they’ll find interesting.
They’ll like you if you talk about things that matter to them.
If you’re unable to speak with anyone, then read blogs on their website and watch videos of past speakers to get an idea of what the organisation is about and if speakers covered serious or light-hearted topics.
No matter what, respect your audience. You are not any better than them just because you are on stage, and they will not appreciate being made to feel small, so don’t make them feel stupid by explaining every thing and never make personal comments about them. Just because they are there to see you, doesn’t mean they’ll automatically fall in love with you.
Try to focus on uplifting the mood of your listeners by getting them engaged in the speech. Encourage them to ask you questions during the presentation and stick around afterwards to show your support for them.
Produce Interesting Content
Okay, so we’ve established that in order to be likeable, you have to greet your speakers, and not think that you’re any better than them. After you’ve worked on this, it’s time to write content that they will like.
In order to do so, your speech has to inspire their imagination, tell them something they’ve never heard before and talk about things they’re interested in. It will take some research to find out what their interests are, which is why you should take the time to speak with the organiser well in advance.
Never introduce ideas that are unoriginal and they’ve heard hundreds of times before. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.. yours including. So make sure that you’ve researched what’s been said about your topic and be confident about what you’re saying. Believe in your ideas and exude passion. Don’t talk about things you know nothing about… and never lie just to try and look good.
If you talk about something completely unrelatable to them, they’ll become bored and end up disliking you. Let’s say you were talking to University English Literature students, you wouldn’t talk about how travelling makes you become more confident. You’d be confronted with blank stares because there is no reason for you to talk about that to them.
Try to keep your speech time-relevant. Is there something that your audience are a part of right now that you could discuss? Again, let’s say you’re talking with University students; it’d be a great idea to give them advice about how they can get a job they love straight after education.
That’d get their attention, because it’s clear that you care about them, and you’re helping them out too. At the end of the speech, they’ll have learnt something new and you could actually make a difference to their lives. Of course, it has to be helpful and constructive advice that they can do something with.
Find out about what the audience want from you so that you can deliver on their expectations. Don’t make your speech too long. Use short sentences. Avoid lingering on one subject for a long time, use pauses and don’t use complex ideas that they won’t understand just so you can look good.
Don’t forget to smile; show that you’re happy to be spending time with them and that you love what you do. Have positive vibes and try to remain calm. Understand that no matter how hard you try, not EVERYONE will like you, because we all have different opinions.
Believe in yourself. Don’t be shy. Project and use eye contact. Respect your audience, understand the types of people they are, and don’t change yourself for them, but project your similarities so that they end up liking you.