Engage Yourself, Engage Your Audience

Do you wish you were a more dynamic and compelling speaker?

Do you want to know how to effectively engage your audience?

In this article I identify 4 elements that enable you be at your best when speaking.

The four elements are:
Passionate, Analytical, Confiding and Extemporaneous or P.A.C.E.™

The Passionate Speaker

Passionate speakers exude energy and a contagious enthusiasm. Passion is the fuel. If we don’t care about our message, it’s a sure bet that nobody else will.

Often, people care about their message, but are reluctant to show much passion in their presentations. In everyday life when we are excited about something, we show it, we communicate it, and influence others. It makes sense then, during a presentation when your objective is to motivate or persuade others, to allow yourself to get passionate!

If you are fearful that you will look foolish, remember audiences do not like boring speakers. So go for it. Allow your voice to get loud. Move through space. Feel strongly about your subject. Both you and your audience will enjoy the benefits.

As important as it is, passion just for the sake of passion gets tiresome. It’s a wonderful flavor, but we don’t always want hot chili peppers.

The Analytical Speaker

The purpose of this element is to establish credibility and expertise. You accomplish this when you relay information in a clear, concise manner. Content level is high with facts and data. For your left-brain audience members, this is essential.

To develop your Analytical side, question your beliefs. How can you support those beliefs with data and examples? There is little body movement in the Analytical style and the voice has little modulation.

The Analytical element is necessary for establishing credibility, but if used too much, presentations will become boring. Many people think that business presentations are “supposed” to be analytical. But if your audience is not listening, your speech has no impact.

When eyes start to glaze over, become passionate! As long as you shift gears, you will get the audience back.

The Confiding Speaker

When we confide with someone, we bring them in as our trusted advisor. We develop rapport. To create a stronger connection with your audience, explore the confiding style.

The Confiding speaker talks slowly, and quietly, with good eye contact. Emotion is bubbling right under the surface. Share aspects from your life experiences with stories that overlap with their stories. There is great strength in being “at home” in front of an audience. We can be vulnerable without becoming weak.

Strength and passion motivate others, but the key to an effective presenter is flexibility in your behavior. You can be loud, and you can also be soft. Rather than always persuading or motivating, let the audience come to you.

Too much emphasis placed on the Confiding style will make your speech self-indulgent. Just the right amount makes the audience a true supporter. You have brought them into the role of a confidant, and they feel honored.

The Extemporaneous Speaker

Finally, the Extemporaneous Speaker. The purpose of this element is to keep your presentations fresh. It requires you to be available and responsive to impulses. Humor happens in the moment. Often the funniest, most pertinent times happen when we are improvising with our audience.

When you speak extemporaneously, your voice has a lot of variety. Your body emphasizes points with gestures and facial expressions. Your mood is light and readily responds to audience reactions.

Many people are scared to be spontaneous during a speech. But if you hold on to the reins too tightly, you squelch the life out of your speech. Even if much of your presentation is planned, allow for some moments of spontaneity, and you will develop a deeper connection to your audience.

How do you become more extemporaneous? Take a deep breath and relax. It’s impossible to be extemporaneous if you are tense. Notice yourself in everyday interactions when you give a quick, witty response. Recognize that you have that capability within you. Take an Improvisation or Stand-up Comedy class to build your “spontaneity” muscle.

Though it is vital to be extemporaneous, if you spend too much time there, your presentation will lack a clear sense of direction.

Weaving the Elements Together

By interweaving all four elements of the P.A.C.E.™ model: Passionate, Analytical, Confiding and Extemporaneous, you will be able to engage your audience intellectually and emotionally.

Flexibility is key. When you have the skill to shift your style according to what the situation calls for, you can engage your audience and have much more impact.

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