Here are our top tips on building a good connection early on with an audience.
- Ensure a total focus on the audience. As trainers, we often comment to each other that at the end of the workshop we have been so absorbed by what is going on that we have forgotten to even think of other business issues
- Shake hands with everyone at the start of the workshop as it will create an immediate connection. It also enables you to hear people’s names and start using them straight away
- Smile- it relaxes both you and the audience
- Have fun. Most people learn more when they are enjoying themselves
- Use humour. You don’t have to be a comedian but be open to humour throughout the workshop
- Be open about you and your personality. Offer snippets about yourself and use your own experience to underpin an idea
- Identify common interests. If lots of people in the audience have an interest in sport, food, travel or fashion, use lots of stories about these subjects
- Utilise open palms. The palm facing up is used as a submissive and non-threatening gesture. It reflects a pleading gesture used by street beggars and from an evolutionary perspective shows the person holds no weapons. Use open palms when you are asking a question and when you want ideas or participation from the audience
- Remember names. There are numerous ways to do this. A close friend of mine, Jon Belbin, is a headmaster of Kimbolton School and makes it his business to know every single child’s name in the school within the first month of the autumn term. There are typically 600-700 children in the school. How does he do it? First, he believes he is good at remembering names – this helps. Second, he has a plan – he looks at each child’s photo, spends time observing the child in school, and notices something interesting or perhaps unusual about the child. Thirdly, when the child sees him in his study, he uses the child’s name at least twice. Remembering names demonstrates a connection and is quite easy to do if you know how. Like you, we are working with 10-20 participants so it’s a lot easier
- Be curious and ask questions. Find out what is it that participants really think, probe when there is obvious interest and tap into the wealth of experience in the room.
Do you agree with these Top Tips? Do you have any tips you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.