Connecting with Your Audience

I was browsing through a few business books this morning, looking for an idea.  Along the way, I found this gem that I would like to share with you:

“The famous conductor Eugene Ormandy – The Philadelphia Orchestra – once said: “There are two types of conductors: one has his head in the score and the other has the score in his head.'”

– From: “Present Like a Pro”, by Cyndi Maxey and Kevin O'Connor

We have all seen speakers who keep their head down – buried in their prepared remarks – and boring us to sleep.  How is it possible to put any energy into your remarks if you are simply reading your speech?

Most of all – how can you possibly connect with your audience or respond to their reactions?  You can't!  So why bother?  Just mail in your comments, because you are just mailing in your speech!

I play the piano.  I enjoy it and lately I have been able to play more often.  Last week I did a couple of mental exercises relating making music to delivering a speech.  As I played a familiar song, I imagined that I was actually delivering a speech to an imaginary audience – I knew the lyrics to this song, so I was telling them a story.

Try this sometime – it is really an amazingly effective excercise.  Since I knew the basic material (the song and the lyrics) I concentrated on my delivery – and my connection with my (imaginary) audience.  I tuned into how I could use devices (rests, tone, volume, cadence, repetition, contrast) to improve my performance.

When we speak, it is important to remember to “write for the ear.”  When we speak we must concentrate on how we are heard (by our audience.)

If you do not play music, you can still do this exercise – listen to a favorite piece of music. How did the singer or instrumentalist connect with you?  If they did not connect, why not?

You can compose an excellent piece of music – but it is the performance that makes the song memorable.  So too with public speaking.


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