Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Make? As in compel? Yes, it's not an exaggeration - you can make them want to listen and they won't know why. They'll just think you're a great presenter.

Here's how.

As you speak, show your audience you're interested in their reaction to your message

It's more than wanting them to get it. It's you showing that you want to know how it's going down with them. So here's what your audience has to see in you.

Your eyebrows rise and wrinkles appear on your forehead (as happens when you ask someone a question). Your whole body moves with a slight sense of urgency, seeking strong eye contact.

We respond best to people who are interested in us. Yes, we admire speakers with personal strength and conviction, but we are also - compellingly - drawn to speakers who show that interest in us. Which is another way of saying that they truly engage with us.

Try it out on a friends or colleagues. Choose a topic and speak a few sentences, in two versions. In version one, speak as well as you can, but keep your eyebrows at normal level. In version two raise your eyebrows as you look around, seeking people out with a touch of urgency. You should be pleasantly surprised by the feedback.

I've left the best news to last. Deliberately showing interest in your audience also helps overcome stage fright - even if you're just pretending, acting interested. Ultimately, of course, you'll want to make it real.

For me, showing interest in the audience has been a wonderful discovery. Discover it for yourself. Make it real.

Have fun.


About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally-charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

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