You've practiced your script; you know your material; you're excited about your upcoming speaking engagement; your delivery is very strong. However, your audience's reaction to you is less than stellar. What went wrong? Why didn't they enjoy your presentation? |
There are many reasons why your speech or presentation may not affect your audience the way you expected. Let's say, for example, that you did a very good job: they could hear you; you spoke with enthusiasm; your points were valid; your presentation was well-timed. Had you done this for a public speaking course, you would have received an A. So what was missing with your audience? The answer is simple. It was your audience. Every audience is different and you can never prejudge how they will accept you as the speaker. This is why questioning your host about your audience is a prerequisite when you accept an invitation to speak.
When I spoke to an association of executive search consultants, the audience was composed primarily of men. Getting a laugh from this group was near to impossible. There were, however, 2 women on opposite sides of the room who laughed and agreed with everything I said. I was more than grateful that those 2 women were in the audience that day!
Without a doubt, 'male' audiences are slower to react and slower to laugh than 'female' audiences. In fact, women not only are quicker to laugh, they laugh louder and they laugh longer than men.
It is not just the sex of the audience which can affect your presentation however. Addressing a Lions or Rotary Club at their monthly meeting will be different than speaking to those same people were you holding a presentation at their place of business. People who come to hear you of their own accord may receive you differently than those same people who are 'volunteered' to listen to you because of their jobs or the organizations in which they are affiliated.
Occasionally I have given a presentation and have not been pleased with my delivery; yet, my audience loved it. I have also given a presentation in which I felt my delivery was quite strong but my audience did not respond as well.
Audiences can be a blessing in disguise or a bit of a nightmare. The best advice I can give you is to be prepared for anything because you never know what will happen when you get up to speak. That is both the challenge and the adventure of public speaking, two of the best rewards for addressing an audience.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Nancy's Voice Training Workshops.
Related Articles -
speaking to audience, male audience, female audience, association of executive search consultants, Lions Club, Rotary Club,