Audiences love to feel a part of a motivational speaker's presentation. Engaging the right people with funny interaction will decrease tension in the room and build rapport. Chumming with the influential audience member also creates an aura of influence. Equally important, engaging the wrong person will garner a cool reception and put the audience off.
Endeavor to gauge a crowd before a motivational speech.
These simple psychological experiments for a guest speaker can reveal a lot:
- Stand at the door, smile and say hello. Some people immediately glance at the floor, mumble something and try to veer around me. This may mean they are cranky, introverted or just don't want to engage. This is not the audience member to playfully poke fun at. Forcing interaction with this delegate may end up in disaster. Let this pariah sneak by and wallow.
Some people will look me in the eye, smile, say hello and even start a conversation with me. Either they have superior social skills or they are just in a good mood. This may be the perfect audience member to interact with.
- Size up the overall crowd. Where do they sit? Most people tend to crowd together at the back. Some venture out and sit in the front, usually these are the more outgoing interactive participants.
- Notice who is socializing and who is not. Most people need to warm up their brains and their tongues. If their first interactions is in front of hundreds of people when forced to interact with the motivational speaker, this will end up in some verbal tongue foul up. Engage the already-awake and social audience members.
- Notice outstanding clothing items. Great clues to a person's character, a funny tie, bright bobbly earrings or a colorful camisole usually indicates open minded, fun people who may be eager to engage.
Once you have sized up these clues, engage in some humorous banter with specific audience members before your motivational speech.
When i was a speaker for an HR Conference last year, I was hard pressed to find an audience member fit to engage. Finally, emerging from the restroom was a man with a beaming smile and bright tie - the perfect crowd pleaser. With some playful banter we lit up the group and it was a memorable, funny motivational speech.
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