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Positive Voice Blog

Know Your Audience

Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2011 by Positivevoice

I'd like you to take a moment to consider what makes an inspiring speaker. When I say speaker, this could be a chat with a friend, a speech from a podium or a piece of advice from a relative.

You see, the most beautiful words are often the ones which hit our hearts. As Nelson Mandela famously said "Speak to a man in a language he understands and it goes to his head, speak to a man in his own language and it goes to his heart".

So, my advice for you is to really know your audience and if you can't do this beforehand, make the beginning of your chat, seminar or workshop interactive by asking lots of questions:

  • Raise your hand if...
  • I wonder whether you...
  • As some of you may know...
  • If you're anything like me...

You can always use these techniques before giving your own opinion.

During personal development seminars, I often talk about how I used to think, feel or act and how I have changed. I leave the future as an unknown quantity because who knows what experience will shape me next. The first time I talked like this, I was struck by how much rapport I had created with my audience. I quickly realised that by sharing these simple truths about myself, I had offered something for everyone - the people I used to be like, the people I have become like and those who were uncertain.

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