As a powerful speaker, your emotional quotient is now just as vital to engaging your audience as your intelligence quotient.
When I was a little girl, I remember guest speakers coming to pour into us the wonderful wisdom they had gleaned throughout their years in business and industry at various school functions. What I don't remember is feeling in any way connected to these paragons of virtue. I saw them as somebody else from me entirely. I thought the things that they knew and the things that they thought about were worlds apart from my interests. They gave good speeches and went their merry ways and their words were soon forgotten. They would always be invited back again for the simple reason that they were important people in society.
As millennials, we have collectively rejected every speaker, public figure and business that does not resonate with us on a personal level. Big words and fancy titles do not impress us anymore. The person on the stage is now obligated to make the person in the seat feel like the important one. As a speaker, you have to be able to connect with your audience emotionally and stimulate them intellectually. You have to show how much you care before they will care how much you know.
Connecting emotionally with your audience will be simple when you follow the rules for marketing to millennial. Let's start with packaging. When you step on stage, you should be well dressed in the same tone as your audience and then a little higher. You should be pleasing to the eyes, this makes you attractive. When you are dressed as casually or as formally as your audience you are saying to them that you are just like them. By taking it one step beyond and adding a little edge to your outfit you are saying that you are here to lead because you have something more to offer to them. As great speakers, we should be aware of every aspect of our non-verbal communication.
Your mission with every word is to create a connection between yourself and your audience. Show them your heart for them. Pay attention to how you are establishing your connection to your audience first and then drive your message home by re-directing the attention they have given you to your message. This is where your delivery becomes very important. Use stories to connect with your audience. Stories have the emotional advantage over data when it comes to forming an emotional connection. If you must use figures and statistics then stories can help you to amplify the human element of the point you are making.
Lastly, in between delivering the meat of your presentation, vary your methods of connecting. Tell jokes this will loosen up their expectations of you. Ask questions of your audience and speak to persons before hand and welcome them to the event. You can ask your entire audience to help you out from the mic because good people love to help. Engage with them as you would any normal group of your friends but in a very respectful way. Variety is ideal because compassion will connect with some but humor will connect with most. This allows you to canvas all of the personalities in a room. Do not hesitate to be a little vulnerable in front of your audience but use this technique sparingly and from a place of genuine service to others.
Public speaking is the number one fear in the world. In my humble opinion, that is because we secretly fear being judged by other people. I want to challenge your thinking here. If you are dressed well, your words are ordered and you wear your heart on your sleeve then your audience will have what they need to connect with you. A connection is what they truly desire, not to be judgmental for the sake of it. They actually want to get to know you a little better. If you can serve them your message with sincerity, humour, and a few warm smiles then you could very well be the speaker that wins their hearts.
Dawn Bumbury coaches Speakers for competitions and keynote speeches when she's not reading, baking cupcakes or trying to be the boss of two-year-old Blake. A lover of all things Caribbean, she specializes in creating emotionally intelligent communication for both individuals and businesses and is an expert on Vin Diesel movies. She is a prolific Instagrammer who can be found: