Do you know how the people you talk with express themselves? This matters especially when you are speaking with people on a one-on-one basis. If you are telling them all the facts and figures, and they are listening for feelings, there will be a disconnect. Here are some ways to approach your discussions, so people are more likely to hear and process what you say.
Catch them with your confidence…
Make sure your body language is telegraphing to others that you know what you are doing. You can and will lead them through whatever happens, and they can trust you. So stand tall with your shoulders squared and pulled back slightly, take the time to make eye contact and hold it for a second or two with several people you are addressing, and don’t fidget. No need to immediately speak. No need to demand control, if you are in the front and confident, they will automatically hand you control of the meeting.
Push the podium aside…
Think of it this way, a podium is a barrier between you and your people. If you have a say in the setup of the room and a microphone will be needed, get one that will move with you. Move about, you’ll know you really have their attention when they track your movements with their eyes. If you know the people well enough, ask questions of specific people so they can shine in their way. Do NOT set them up for failure. Ask questions they can answer expertly. If they look stumped, either say the question in a different way or remind them of a recent discussion about the topic and ask them to share what they said then.
That’s right, just like in a novel or a story, you want to grab their attention no holds barred. Don’t shout, it’s about the concept you want to discuss, but using a talking point or sound bite to make it memorable and to the point. Give them a taste of the ending of your talk at the beginning and once you’ve hooked them, then explain.
Cue them verbally or visually…
Depending on your venue, you could have slides or cards set up on a stage to let people know you are moving to a new point. You could also simply make a statement, “Okay, let’s move to the next point of discussion.” Now wait until a large portion of the group again looks up at you, and then start with the next item.
Recap the main points of your talk or discussion. This is where having a hook for each topic will pay dividends. Catch them with your confidence, push aside the podium, hook them, cue them, and then recap. That’s just how it’s done.
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