During the past year, we have seen an enormous number of meetings, events, and stages go online. As a result, this creates a challenge for speakers, hosts, and participants to connect at a deep level with their audience. To get your audience to connect with you, it is imperative to connect with them at an emotional level. So how do you do that in the virtual world? Keep reading…
Using my favorite speaking technique, acronyms, I am going to share with you 10 ways to connect emotionally with a virtual audience. We are going to spell the word EMOTIONAL.
E is for Empathy.
The first way is to feel empathy by putting yourself in their place. Try to figure out what they are feeling and what they want from your presentation. Think about what your target market typically wants or needs. For example, business owners want to attract new clients and they want to know how to get them fast. Women in empowerment groups, typically want to know that they are significant, enough and that they have a voice. Find out what your audience wants, tell them you understand and give it to them.
M is for Match Your Audience.
Once you know what your audience wants, match what they seek to what you teach. Also, match the language they speak. For example, if you are speaking to a group of real estate agents, your language would be different than if you were speaking to group of financial planners. You will also want to match your audience’s expectations. For instance, if you are speaking to a networking group that is not keen or used to having speakers sell to them, then you will need to give something away instead. Otherwise, they could leave the presentation feeling like it was just a sells pitch without any real value.
O is for Open Heart.
Speaking of selling, check in with yourself as you prepare your speech and deliver it. How are you showing up? Are you showing up with an open, giving heart? Or are you showing up just trying to sell to them? Show up with a giving heart and be fully interested in them while pouring out your knowledge, love, and education on them. When you open your heart to your audience, they will open theirs – bingo! Instant connection.
T is for Tone.
What tone of voice are you speaking with? Are you using an inviting tone or is your tone harsh and repelling? As a speaker, always pay attention to the speed and quality of your voice. Sometimes speakers can talk too fast, speak with a high-sounding pitch, or speak so slow that it lulls an audience to sleep. Be aware of your tone, speed, and pitch and vary them all to create vocal variety. Speaking at the same level throughout your presentation could begin to sound boring and you will lose your audience’s attention. Pay close attention to your overall tone and use it to connect emotionally with your audience. Think of it this way, when you are delivering a speech virtually, you need to be on both sides of the conversation.
I is for Idea.
Give your BIG idea. It might be a shocking or profound statement or declaration. One day, in the middle of my speech this statement flowed out of my mouth for the first time, “You have a message to share that only you can share to people that can only hear it from you, and that message could save someone’s business, their life, or even their soul.” A man in my audience said, “That’s profound!” He was right! I have been sharing that BIG idea ever since in all my presentations. Think about that profound statement you can share with your audience. Or it could be a quote by you or someone else. One of my quotes that I often share is: “Everything you want is outside of your comfort zone or you would already have it.” BIG idea, right? Your big idea will come from within. One day, you will be speaking and there it is coming out of your mouth! I recommend you use your own quotes, statements, and declaration, however, if you are going to use someone else’s quote, be sure to give them credit. Sometimes in my speeches I will include a quote from Tony Robbins. I will say, “Tony Robbins says good is not good enough, you need to be outstanding!” Either way, these BIG ideas can emotionally connect you to your audience!
O is for Outline.
Outline your presentation. Never write it out word for word because if you do you will become a prisoner of your own words. You will be compelled to read it, memorize it, and deliver it exactly as you wrote it. Which is impossible. You are setting yourself up for failure. If you want to connect to your audience emotionally, you cannot read your presentation. Reading your script creates a disconnect, and distances you from your audience. On the virtual stage, some speakers cheat by reading from their script or PowerPoint slides. They are only cheating themselves and their audience. Besides, we can see you reading, and we can hear it in your voice. You are not fooling anyone. Outline your talk so you are free to speak naturally and connect to the audience. Outline your teaching points, stories, and close with trigger words. They are easier to remember and allow you to be yourself. Then deliver your speech with passion and create that emotional connection with your listeners!
N is for Now Relevant.
Connect to your audience by talking about what is relevant now, today. What current events are happening in the world? During this past year we talked a lot about the pandemic. Now speakers are talking about the vaccine. Also, connect to your audience with what is going on with them, their industry, and maybe even their personal life.
In the virtual room it is easier to see everyone at once. Look around. Is there somebody who looks troubled or is not paying attention? Is somebody yawning because they are bored? If you see a few people yawning, then change your tone, physical state, and get your audience involved. As the speaker, you are responsible for creating an experience for your audience. Make it so great that they cannot do anything else except pay attention to you.
A is for the Actual Words you use.
Pay close attention to the actual words you use. Add sensory words to your speech such as see, touch, and feel. A powerful word used in sales is “imagine.” For example, ”Imagine six months from now, you are and walking down the street and shaking hands with people you meet, and no one is wearing a mask. Also, speak the language of your customer. What do they call their clients? What lingo do they use for business? For instance, a salon owner who speaks about her clients wants to get people in her chair. A commercial property owner may talk about the number of doors they own. Do your research on the audience you are speaking to and modify your presentation to match that audience’s language.
L is for Love.
Give your audience love. Throughout your speech, be loving and kind to your audience. Use words like “Please and thank you”. Call people by their own names. This is easy to do in the virtual world because everyone’s name is displayed on the screen. When possible, greet them as they come in the room. Stop your PowerPoint occasionally and check in with everyone and see if they have questions or concerns. Over the past year, with so many meetings going online, people are getting tired of online meetings and presentations and therefore have become more critical. To win them over, you need to let them know it will be worth their time and that they will receive great information. Love on them. People are not getting sick of Zoom – they are getting sick of boring meetings and speakers with no emotional connection. Make the connection and they will stay with you the entire time.
Follow the EMOTIONAL steps above and you will emotionally connect with your audience in the virtual world. To learn more about how you can emotionally connect to your audience, watch this training video:
Read more public speaking tips and videos on my blog.