You can attend all of the fancy speaking classes that you want, but there is a very good chance that they are not going to teach you what you really need to know. The reason that they won’t is because despite the importance of public speaking, they don’t know what you are really looking for. However, I do. What you want most as a pubic speaker is for your next audience to fall in love with you. To treasure your every word. To not only understand what you are saying, but also to come to believe what you are saying. In order to make this happen, you need to become more like your audience.
Learn How To Listen
So who does your audience really want to spend their time listening to? Well, if we’re going to be honest about this, they’d prefer to listen to themselves. What this means for you is that you need to spend the time to make yourself become more like them.
The way that this starts is by having you take the time to become a good listener. You need to listen to your audience. How do they speak? What words do they use? Do they speak fast or slow? Knowing that they really want to listen to themselves, we need to listen and adapt how we speak so that we start to speak more like they do.
Imitation Is The Greatest Form Of Flattery
In order to become more like your audience, you are going to have to practice becoming more like them. The way that you can go about doing this is to record what they sound like. There are a number of different ways that you can go about capturing them talking on tape, but make sure that you do it because it will be well worth the effort.
Once you have a recording of how the members of your next audience talk, take the time to listen to it. As you listen, stop the recording and practice talking like they do. No, you’ll never be mistaken as a native, but perhaps you can get close before it’s time for you to deliver your speech.
You Can’t Exaggerate Enough
In order to express yourself more like your audience does, you are going to have to practice communicating like they do. You are going to want to go “all in” here. This means that as you practice you do it in a big way.
A big way means that you make all of your sounds big – bigger than they need to be in real life. Yes, I do realize how ridiculous this may all seem to you, but it is important. You need to go “over the top” when you start to practice communicating like your audience does. As you get better at doing this, you can tone it down.
No Reason To Be Shy
Your audience is going to know that you are different from them. When you start to communicate with them using the words, tones, and mannerisms that they use they are not going to know what to think. This opens an opportunity for you.
You can use their surprise to play with how you communicate with them. Feel free to do some experimentation here. The more you become like them, the more surprised they will be. Have fun with your audience. You’ve worked hard to connect with them so make the most of the moment.
What All Of This Means For You
In this big world of ours, it turns out that every public speaker wants to be able to accomplish the same thing: we want to make our next audience love us. To make this happen and to realize all of the benefits of public speaking, all we have to do is one thing: become more like they are.
This may sound simple, but it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do correctly. The first thing that you need to do is to teach yourself how to listen to your audience so that you can pick up on the unique aspects that make up how they communicate with each other. Once you know how they do it, imitate it and then exaggerate how you do it when you start to practice it. Finally, don’t be shy – play with your audience as you communicate with them in a way that they want.
Becoming your audience is the key to successfully connecting with them. In order to do this requires you to do some homework and learn how your audience likes to be communicated with. Take the time to do this correctly and you will have discovered how to speak like your audience…
Dr. Jim Anderson
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