audience

When Words Take on a Life of Their Own

Growing up, I had a bad habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sometimes it was because I lacked tact and good judgment. Other times, I just used words that could be taken a multitude of ways depending on the listener’s perspective. While most of us outgrow the first scenario, the second one is little more difficult to avoid. In fact, I have a humorous story to share about me making this very mistake just a few years ago.

How to Deal with Rude Audience Members

It’s unfortunate, but not all audience members treat speakers the way we’d like to be treated. People have a very short attention span and it shows. Instead of listening to the speaker like we were taught to in school, people are having side conversations or playing with their BlackBerrys in the middle of your talk.

This topic came up in my public speaking class last night and we had an interesting discussion about it. While many speakers think that this is caused because they are boring the audience, the truth of the matter is that some people are just rude and/or inconsiderate. I’ve seen this happen in a variety of situations and here are just a few examples:

Don’t Let BlackBerry Addiction Ruin Your Presentation

Many people own a BlackBerry, iPhone or other mobile device that allows them to check email, surf the web, check email and update their status on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter from virtually anywhere. Of course that anywhere could be the car, the airport or even while sitting in the audience when you’re giving a speech.


Using these devices all the time is a new, yet increasing, trend – I remember sitting next to a woman at an awards dinner that ignored everyone else at the dinner because she couldn’t put her BlackBerry down. It’s no wonder that these devices are referred to as “CrackBerries” because some folks simply can’t resist checking them every couple minutes.

10 Ways For Toastmasters to Take Their Speaking to the Next Level – Part 1

Last year, I did a presentation at a Toastmasters District Conference about how one can take their speaking to the next level. I’ve since been invited to give this talk to various Toastmasters Clubs (if you’d like me to speak at your club, please contact me) and I’ve learned that a lot of folks within Toastmasters are surprised at how many opportunities they have within the organization to push their limits as speakers.

Three Painless Ways to Avoid “The Boring Talk”

There’s nothing worse to a presenter than a snoozing audience – we take it to mean that what we’re saying is uninformative, irrelevant or even worse, downright boring. But your speeches don’t have to be that way – you have a lot more control over how your audience perceives you than you may think.

Boring speeches are often due mainly to by the presenter’s delivery style. However, there are a few things beyond the control of the speaker that can cause a tough or despondent audience such as:

  • Consuming a big meal and/or alcohol

Your Words Have Power

Ever catch yourself muttering something negative about yourself under your breath? I’ve caught myself doing it a lot and it’s something I’ve been to working to stop doing. It usually happens when I make a mistake – I’ll say something like “that was really dumb of me.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that when I said things like that, I started making more mistakes because I was essentially convincing myself that I was dumb.

It’s the Audience, Stupid

bored audienceWhy do so many speakers insist on using their audience as a form of group therapy for their own personal issues? I’ve seen speakers (including those that were paid to give their talk) use their presentation (I don’t dare call it training) to enact revenge, guilt the audience into cheering for them and to get things off their chests. Why?

Giving a speech is not about you – it’s about the audience. Someone has invited you to share your knowledge, wisdom or experience to their audience. They’re not interested in hearing about the guy that flipped you off in traffic, the cab driver that ran four lights on your trip from the airport or something idiotic that your Senator did (unless that’s the purpose of your speech).

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