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Twenty-Three Ways to Connect With Your Audience
(Use Only If You Want Your Audience to Listen and Take Action)

By Karen Susman©

You can download, reproduce, reprint, recycle articles as long as you include my copyright and byline information. Let me know if and where you use an article. Or, send me a copy. It's always fun to see my name in print.

If you want to get your message across to your audience members, you have to connect with them. Here are twenty-two ways to connect before, during and after your presentation.

Connect Before:


Do your homework on your audience. Plan your presentation from their perspective.

2. Arrive early to check out the physical and emotional atmosphere.

Visit with audience members before your presentation. You'll learn what's going on and you'll gather allies.


Listen to and observe events and speakers that come before you. If you're scheduled to speak at 8: 15 PM and the meeting starts at 7 PM, arrive at 6:30 PM. (Earlier if you have to test audio/visual equipment.) Adapt your remarks to what you hear, see and feel.

5. Refer by name to the speaker before you. Ask permission of an audience member to use his name in reference to your topic. For instance, "As Jim in engineering told me…

Connect During:


Use your body. Pause before you begin. Walk toward the audience. If you can't walk toward the audience, lean in. Use eye contact. Move meaningfully with each point you make.

7. Energize. The larger the audience and the room, the more energetic you have to be. Animate your face, too.

Flex your voice range, volume and speed to emphasize and invigorate your remarks.


Gesture. The bigger the group and room, the bigger the gesture.

10. Be prepared to be spontaneous.
11. Reveal your personality.
12. Don't read your remarks. Don't read from slides.
13. Enliven your remarks with stories, quotations, examples, analogies, metaphors and unusual visuals.
14. Don't overuse PowerPoint. Less is more.
15. Use pictures in your visuals. Put people, faces, animals, your family, etc. in the pictures. This gives your audience an emotional zap that lodges your points in their brains.

Connect After:


Stick around. The good questions come up during breaks and after your bow.

17. Be available. If you're rushing or packing up your equipment, anyone who wants to speak with you will feel disregarded. Listen to people. If you have to vacate the stage quickly to make room for the next speaker, tell fans you'll meet with them in hall or at the reception.

Place yourself by the exit doors at the end of your presentation so you can visit, smile, shake hands and make eye contact.


Offer to send bonus information via mail or e-mail to audience members. Ask them to specify the requested information on the back of their business cards.

20. Follow through by promptly sending out requested material.
21. Request the mailing list or cards of attendees. Send them a reminder note within two weeks of your presentation.
22. Offer to sign them up for your e-newsletter or an e-mail follow up.
23. Write an article for the audience's newsletter.

Take advantage of the time before, during and after your presentation to make a connection. You'll boost your message's effectiveness and longevity. You'll be remembered. And, if you are interested in selling products, services or yourself to your audience, you'll maximize your success.


You are welcome to reprint this article as long as the copyright and contact information are included. Contact Karen Susman at 1-888-678-8818

©Karen Susman.

Karen Susman, Speaker/Author/Coach, works with organizations and individuals that want to maximize their performance and quality of life. Check out her free tips and articles at Karen can be reached at 1-888-678-8818 or


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