Matthew Gates https://notetoservices.com 8m 1,896
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Speaking To The Internet
Talking to your audience is scary. It is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences ever. Even on a blog, where you aren’t actually seen, or maybe you’re on a webcam in front of people, it can still be a scary experience. What can you do to calm yourself down? What can you do to make sure you are connecting with our audience on their level and getting them quickly on to your level? The only way to do that is to know your audience.
1. Know Your Group
Trying to talk to people you don’t know anything about or can relate to is like trying to convince your mom that you really didn’t do it. What you are speaking about should have something that your audience can relate to talking about. This is what connects you to them. For musicians, people fell in love with their songs, and at concerts, they re-sang those songs while getting high in front of a live audience. This connection gives concerts that great euphoric feeling.
Give that feeling to your audience. I once stood in front of a classroom of my peers. I was in a college course tenyears ago called, I believe it was “Science of Theology” or “Philosophy of Theology”. The class was about our calling in life. I stood up and was about to read from a card, when I realized: why am I reading from this card? Let me just talk to them like they are my best friends and I’m trying to help them understand what life is all about and finding their purpose to get through it.
Before this, I attended a leadership development program, which also asked three questions:
1) Who are you?
2) Where are you going?
3) How are you going to get there?
The combination of these two times in my life really made me understand who I wanted to be.
As I stood up in front of the class, I told people: I was fascinated with helping people, lost souls, discover their path, and help them find their way. I’ve been trying to adapt this to the Internet, as it’s not something I really got to do in my real life. The class really was fascinated and awe-inspired that for nearly two or three semesters thereafter, I had people coming up to me who remembered it and even other students who weren’t in that class who were coming to me and letting me know about how their friend told them a story about how powerful my words were to them.
That was powerful.
Make that happen with your audience.
The summary of my whole speech was inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
And of course, Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit.
2. Know Your Topic
Your audience knows if you are sincere. Eventually they will figure out whether you are talking to them genuinely, or you are just making up bullshit. It’s why it’s hard to watch politcians. Everyone has a certain thing they do when they lie. See it and know the lies. Most audiences can read through you, see your nervousness, and tend to lose interest. Keep the interest, keep the influence, and you’ll keep your audience.
There is nothing scary that your audience is going to do to you. If they boo you, well, as adults, we don’t actually do that. It tends to ONLY happen up to high school. After that, unless you’re in a comedy club, you won’t hear that in a prfoessional setting. You already know about your topic. You are an expert at what you do. What you need to master is humoring them. Audiences love to laugh and they love to relate to you. If you know most of them are Rick and Morty fans, then you make a Rick and Morty reference.
It shows modernism and a desire to actually connect and understand and care about the audience that you are speaking to.
3. Know Your Point
If you are blogging or vlogging, you need an index card with bullet points that keep you on point. As I wrote earlier: I threw the card away because I knew what I wanted to talk about. I had my introduction, my dialogue of connecting with my audience to show them I was just human, like them, and that I, too, was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in my life, and then I came to the conclusion: life gives you purpose in your life; you don’t know what you want to do, but you do have a calling to get there, and eventually, as you experience life, you’ll be led to exactly where you need to be.
Staying on point is not always easy, but it helps to stay connected to your audience.
4. Know Your Personality
This might sound like an easy one: you know who you are, you know your strengths, and you definitely know your weaknesses. You have a lot of good stories you could tell about how you got there. However, when it comes to talking about how you are, your stories of life, specifically your strengths and weaknesses, you don’t want to come off as bragging and condescending or sad and wanting people to feel sorry or bad for you.
The point is: if you are going to tell stories: keep those stories on point and make sure they relate to your own strengths and weaknesses and how it helped you grow as a person.
5. Know Your Humor
Another one that sounds easy to some, but is a horror for others. Those with humor and sarcasm can certainly send it across to their audience. Those without humor… aren’t able to connect their audience without laughter or relation. Your jokes can be any number of things, even dropping something on the floor just to break the silence of what you are doing. Just be who you are. If you have ever made your family or friends laugh, you can make your audience relate to you and laugh as well.
There is no amount of just trying to be funny or making a joke, albeit a “safe joke”. When your audience is able to humanize you and relate to you, they sympathize, empathize, and enjoy your performance, or your words. Especially on the Internet, its easier.
6. Know Your Words
Get to the point. Please. You can tell your stories. You can talk as little or as much as you want. But the sooner you get to the point, the sooner we can understand you, relate to you, and be comfortable enough to stick around. Let your audience know exactly what they need and should hear.
Talking with them instead of at them is a great way to ensure that you are making that connection and keeping it. What you say may stick with people for many years to come and may be words that others will use to live by, so ensure that your information is accurate, factual, and helpful to those who hear it. While your words can be interpreted in different ways, it is best to ensure your audience understands what you are trying to convey.
7. Know Your Mistakes
In telling your story, revealing that you are human, ensure that you communicate with your audience that failure is okay to talk about and happens too. We all fail. We all make mistakes. We all end up making life decisions for which there is absolutely no undo button, but we understand that life must be kept on living. The whole point of life is to live it, so keep doing that, mistakes or not! Accept that you have made mistakes and don’t be afraid to talk about them with your audience.
8. Know Your Abilities
You have years of experience to draw from and you know what you are very well capable of doing. People love hearing what you are doing, what you have done, and what you did to get there. Of course, if Bill Gates were to tell his story about how he became a billionaire, and we all followed the same exact path: none of us would become a billionaire. Why? Because Bill Gates was in the right place at the right time learning the right thing and doing the right things to make his own dreams come true. It is very unlikely that Bill Gates was actually thinking about being a billionaire at that time. Billionaires were hardly even a thought in the 70s.
When revealing your story to your audience, remind them that they need to focus on their own path, and while they can draw from the inspiration of your story, that doing exactly what you did will not get them to where you are, because you are living your dreams, and no one else can do that.
9. Know Your Sensibilities
Your audience is going to react to what you say to them and how you say it. They may empathize or sympathize with you, but how you carry yourself is how the audience will respond to you. There are times where you will want your audience to feel what you are feeling when you tell your story, and there will be times when you will want to feel what your audience is feeling, particularly if you are asking your audience questions or allowing your audience to ask the questions. You will want to speak about things our audience can relate to and get them to understand what you have gone through from your perspective. It is highly unlikely that your audience ever wants to see you fail, but they do not mind seeing that you are a relatable human being.
10. Know Your Restrictions
As of 2020, there is no doubt that the culture of #metoo, #feminism, and #everyoneisoffended2016 #everyoneisoffended2017 #everyoneisoffended2018 #everyoneisoffended2019, there are things that could be said that might offend someone. In fact, comedians struggle to write new comedy sketches in fear that they will offend their audience. However, that was always the job of the comedian: offend the audience while making them laugh. Unfortunately, an offended audience leads to crickets or boos, and while there is technically nothing wrong with the speaker who is exercising his or her right to utilize the First Amendment, the one that has to do with the “freedom of speech”.
If you are talking to an audience that is less than 18 years old, you obviously would make sure that your language as well as the topic you are talking about is suitable for a younger audience. You would not throw curses out or talk about sexual relationships to a group of elementary school children. In 2020, it is almost best that you do not speak to an audience about your political views or assume they like or dislike what you like. Talking about a President you like or don’t like can mean a quick death to your credibility before you’ve even said anything.
Whatever the case may be, ensure that your jokes are geared towards your audience and the topics you speak about are meant for the audience who is listening to you. Know what you want to say. Know what you want your audience to understand. And you not need to worry about stepping outside of the boundaries you have set for yourself and your audience.