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Public Speaking Course: 

Get 'Em on Stage

We learned from your public speaking course that attention gaining devices are very important to master for your presentation skills. Here is one that works for me every time: In almost every speaking engagement I do, I find a reason to get an audience member on stage with me.
When you get someone from the audience on stage with you, the rest of the audience will be compelled to watch what's going on for the following reasons:

1. They want to see what is going to happen to one of their own.

2. They are priming themselves to be up there.

3. They are worrying to death that they may be asked to be up there.

The first two reasons are good because the thoughts of the observing audience member is that, "I want to watch to see what my colleague will do or what will happen to them when they are on stage. No matter how exciting you are, you can't compete with the excitement that is generated by someone on stage that is not "supposed" to be. My public speaking course teaches you how to generate this kind of excitement on stage and in the audience.

The other thought is, "I BETTER watch what is going on in case I am asked to go up there." This mindset is good because it makes the audience member to think about the point you are trying to make, in case they are asked up too. 

The third reason is not good because the shy or sensitive audience members will withdraw from your program out of  fear you might ask them to stand up in front of everyone. Remembering what you learned in your public speaking course includes how to be sensitive to the needs of all the members of your audience. This chance of audience withdrawal is easily eliminated by the following statement.
"In a moment I'm going to ask for some / a volunteer to come on stage with me. Don't worry. No one will have to come up if they don't want to." If you have a high percentage of shy audience members, you will almost feel the breeze as they breathe a sigh of relief. 

According to a study done at the University of Wichita, public recognition is one of the top motivators of people. If you claim to be a "motivational" public speaker of some sort, you need to incorporate this idea, and use your public profile while you are speaking to give out some much sought after public recognition. I find out the good things that particular audience members have done during my extensive pre-program research.

Here are some ways to use the information from my public speaking articles:

  • Recognize a single audience member for a particular achievement, or for a period of high performance.
  • Recognize a group of audience members for a particular achievement, or period of high performance.

While they are on-stage make highlight their achievement, or performance with some kind of certificate or visual (Do not forget to include your company name at the bottom of the certificate. Many times these will be hung on the wall in the organization which will give you free publicity).

You can also get audience members on stage with you to do some sort of demonstration. I do a funny one where I'm demonstrating differing personal space across cultures. The person helping me gets a good laugh from the audience as we interact.

Try to have pre planned ad libs ready to go for many of the comments or questions you anticipate from the people on stage. You can also have someone on stage to assist you in writing on the flip chart, changing overheads, or to blow a horn when someone in the audience asks a good question. Let your imagination free when planning your presentation.

Whenever, someone is up there to assist you, make sure you give them some kind of prize. One of your products is usually good because it gives you a chance to mention it without using a hard sell. And just
about always lead the audience in a round of applause for the helper as they return to their seat.

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