|From time to time, I am asked to speak at various functions or events. I always try to get an idea of what type of audience I will be speaking for so that I can make the speech apropos for the audience. I do this so that I can more precisely "hit the mark" with the audience.|
There are a number of rules that other professionals in the speaking business have taught me. If you don't know what you are doing and why you are doing it - you will have a very dissatisfied audience.
Normally, you either "get or lose" the audience in the 1st 30 seconds or so.
You cannot speak for more than 12 minutes without changing the tempo and the scenario of the speech. Otherwise, you will lose the audience. Attention spans are very short. People need stimulation and have really come to hear you so that they can enjoy themselves.
Which brings me to the point of Process V.S. Content. It is not really WHAT you are telling your audience, it is really HOW you are telling them. Only make 1 or 2 major points throughout the entire speech.
The only thing that most of the audience will remember about you is whether or not you were enjoyable or "funny".
So, generally in a speech, I start off with something light or humorous. Give them some content during the speech and finally and most importantly make them roar laughing at the end. People won't really remember WHAT you told them, but they will possibly remember the funny stuff or that overall they "liked you".
When speaking to an audience the fact that they liked you is the most important element. Most likely the audience "knows" what you are talking about, but they really get a kick out of your delivery if it is good.
I always go down into the audience and ask them questions. A lot of the stuff I do is not rocket science, but really comes from what I know they laughed at from the last sitcom they watched. The audience is programmed to respond to the question and answer that has a twist ending. This is comedic because they get their "drink with a twist".
Try never to speak before they eat. This is bad. The audience will be much more laid back after they have eaten. You get up just as they are ordering their 3rd drink or putting the sugar or cream in their coffee.
I also "work the room" before and after the speech. I go amongst the people to "warm them up". I picked up this trick when I was a singer/musician in the bars when I was younger. Feed 'em beer & liquor with the right amount of pretzel salt, get 'em up dancin' and sweatin' and you'll have them all night !!!
DON'T under any circumstances tell your audience that you are "going to tell them a joke".
Guaranteed they won't laugh. You've doomed yourself. Just tell the story or joke and if it gets a laugh...you're 1 step ahead...if it doesn't...move on as if you didn't mean it to be funny.
Or you might low key it. Instead of trying to get uproarious laughter, just try for the mild smile from the audience.
Try to stay away from one liners. The audience is not stupid.
Always keep in mind that your audience merely wants to enjoy themselves and not tax their minds too much. People like a good laugh. It makes them feel good.
So remember -
Tell them something humorous in the beginning. Don't tell them too much in the middle that will bog the speech down and "Leave 'em Laughin' When Ya' Go" !!!