12 Superstar ways to win the audience participation game

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Public speakers are a lot like elite level athletes. Both are the undisputed stars of the show. Sometimes though, it's fun to make the average people in the audience feel special too. But how? Like a sports star of course.

Want to get your audience involved? Sometimes you won't have a choice, they'll simply demand some time in the spotlight.

Here are 12 ways to interact with your audience like a champion.

1) Accept generosity with grace

Should you suffer the humiliation of falling off stage, feel free to use the nearby tech people as a crash mat. But if an audience member offers you refreshments, you best be courteous.

2) Maintain your charming GSOH

You know the audience is engaged – almost literally – when they start throwing marriage proposals at you. But how to respond in a high-pressure situation?

3) Try not to hurt anybody

There are 2 kinds of speaker in this world: those who can block out audience abuse, and those who can't. I mean, they really can't.

4) Always laugh at flatulence

When a fan lets one rip, crack a smile huh? It's all you can do.

5) Give all attendees your best

Performing at a multi-speaker event? Let's face it, some people are there to see the other guys. But, hey, you can still toss the ball around right?

6) Accept generosity with grace II

Public speaking, like shooting hoops, is tough work. Sometimes a water break just ain't gonna cut it. A complex carbohydrates break, on the other hand...

7) Celebrate their achievements

'$75,000? Hey man, you just made $10,000 more than I did today. Whooooo!'

8) Remind them how important first impressions are

Few, if any, speaking events have a dress code. But fancy dress? Hell no. DO NOT – repeat, DO NOT – tolerate audience members in fancy dress.

9) See what they're made of...

Struggling with your speaking serve? Getting some stick from the crowd? 'Okay tough guy, let's see if you can do better.'

10) … and listen if they know their stuff

When things aren't going well, a little loving guidance goes a long way. Find the Obi-Wan in your crowd.

11) Be patient with the jerks

A presentation tech fail is a whack in the face with a hockey stick. The audience may laugh, and that will hurt your feelings. But be patient, because Karma.

12) Try out their material

Sometimes the set-up just ain't right. Take a time-out and get comfortable before you continue. Heck, steal some personal belongings if you have to.

So there you have it. Don't let the mortals with their asses on seats intimidate you. Get them involved, but remember who's boss.

What would LeBron do?

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