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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Organized For A Living" - Article

10 Ways To Turn Off An Audience

If you give or listen to more than one speech in your lifetime, youíre sure to hear the griping from many audience members about something the speaker did or said that annoyed them.† Some complaints tend to drive many in the audience to the point of not LISTENING to your message -- or, worse yet, literally getting up and walking out to ESCAPE the torture. Letís do this David Letterman style:

Always be in tune with the wants and needs of your audience.† Get them INVOLVED!† If youíre asked to give a presentation on a subject, donít just give your point of view -- find out from a few of the folks that will be in the audience what they would like to get out of the presentation.†

Seems like a little thing.† But this little thing can make the presentation more like a CONVERSATION.† Stop, make eye contact with a person, and complete a thought.† Then move to another part of the audience and do it again.

There is a balance between using stories to help drive home a single point and saying the same thing over and over again.†Try some adding different TWISTS to make your point --a new way to say the same old thing. As you listen to newscasters, talk show hosts, radio disc jockeys, etc., pay attention to catchy lines and phrases they use. You will find a virtually never-ending supply of great MATERIAL that you can customize and adapt to fit your own style. Soon youíll be coming up with your own memorable quotes and phrases.

Respect your audience enough to manage your allotted time. They will notice and appreciate it. Always prepare and practice a speech that is SHORTER than the time you are being allotted. How many meetings have you gone to where they started exactly on time? Not many -- but they sure want to end on time! You will always stay in control of the talk if you have a way to TRACK your remaining time, such as a clock placed where you can view it inconspicuously. And never attempt to put too much information into too little time by talking FASTER -- this keeps your audience from absorbing or even enjoying your topic. Know what part of your material is most important -- I have learned to practice my material in ways that will allow for entire sections to be modified or cut without loosing the overall message.

PRACTICE is the best control here. If youíre prepared for the speech then you will quickly bring your nervousness under control.

Preparation again is the best form of defense. Donít get up at 7am and begin writing a 15-minute speech you have to give at 9am that day. Prepare sufficiently in ADVANCE so that you have yourself and your material together.

The whole realm of filler words (um, uh, you know, and, so, etc) become distracting and takes away from your presentation. Preparation can help combat this. However, PAUSES will also, both give you a moment to gather your thoughts in your head as well as allow your audience to absorb the topic you are presenting. Make good use of pauses for both your sakes.

To get a genuine response out of your audience, they need to FEEL your words. Adding emotion to your talk will move participants to do what your message urges -- be it buying your wares, making a life change, or merely rethinking their point of view. Use the facts to paint vivid pictures through your STORIES. You can also get an appropriate emotional response from your audience -- a personalized response from each person -- by asking the right QUESTIONS. ďDo you remember that birthday that you received that special something you had waited so long for?Ē Think about how you can you use these emotions to lead your audience toward a conclusion, response, or action.

A huge no-no. Stop right now and think about the last speaker that you listened to. You know, the one that stood behind a podium and read a speech to you. How did you feel? Having NOTES available for your reference is fine but donít stand there and read them. Practice your material so that you can GIVE the speech and if you have to refer to your notes then so be it. But give a speech donít read one. And the number one turn off to audiences isÖ

Many people interpret a monotone voice as a lack of interest in your topic, so, use voice INFLECTION to bring the audience along with you. Use quieter and softer tones when you want to convey soft heartfelt feelings (love, sympathy etc) and use loud, bold tones when you want to convey strong feelings (anger, excitement etc.) Use pauses to allow your audience to soak up your message. Vary your level of INTENSITY to move your audience along -- go from calm paced moments and to powerfully impactful crescendos that drive home your point. You must develop a FLOW, and pace your energy to deliver that to them.

One of the greatest things you as a speaker can bring to the podium is ENERGY. Call it force, power, get-up-and-go or oomph -- energy comes in many forms, colors, and intensities. I find energy in passion, enthusiasm and that Ďfire burning within.í With this fire, even a simple or trivial message becomes GRIPPING. Without that fire, your most powerfully written speech will fall on deaf ears (or worse yet none at all.) So stoke your purpose with the fire of passion -- then you will present with a new level of POWER!


Brinkmann and Associates provides entertaining and informative keynote speeches and educational seminars. From advanced presentation skills training to motivational seminars. We can provide you with a customized program specifically designed to meet your needs. Visit the website at

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