As public speakers, it’s easy for us to lose track of what matters and to focus so heavily on the message we want to share that we forget to think about the people we’re talking to. This is a problem, because it dilutes our efficacy and makes it harder for us to deliver a memorable speech.
That’s also why today’s forward-thinking public speakers are focusing more heavily on catering to their audiences and addressing their needs. They know that if they do a good job of that, they’re more likely to deliver a successful speech that gets them additional bookings in the future.
But why is it so important for public speakers to put their audience at the center of everything that they do? Let’s take a look.
Your audience is the customer
Even though it’s the event organizers that will book you to talk and will pay your fees, it’s your audience that you should think of as your customers. That’s because they’re the ones that you’re delivering a service to. If you don’t put your audience at the heart of everything you do, word will travel and people will stop booking you.
It helps to address their pain points
As a public speaker, one of the best uses of your time is to identify the pain points that people have and to create a talk that addresses them. If you’re talking to marketers, for example, then they might have the pain point that they’re struggling to measure the effects of their marketing efforts. If that’s the case, you can deliver a talk on analytics and provide people with the advice they need to better monitor their campaigns in the future.
People judge you based on how relevant you are to them
In other words, if you stand up to speak and you talk about a bunch of stuff that has no bearing on the lives and work of your audience, they’re not going to enjoy your talk. We all judge the speakers we see based on how relevant they are to us, even though we know that they’re talking to a room full of people. That’s why it’s so important for you to focus on catering to your audience.
It makes it easier for you to get the response you want
The chances are that you have some idea of how you want people to respond to your talk, even if it’s just that you want them to listen attentively and to ask a few questions at the end of it. Depending upon the type of engagement, you may be hoping for them to make a purchase. Whatever the case, if you put your audience at the heart of what you’re doing, you’ll find it much easier to encourage them to take those actions.
It softens bad news
As much as we’d like to only ever talk about positive news, there will always be times when public speakers need to deliver bad news. When that’s the case, putting your audience at the heart of what you do will help you to deliver that bad news in a way that’s sensitive and palatable for people. That’s because you’ll be able to better put yourself in their shoes and you won’t just blunder in with a bombshell that scares the pants off everyone.
It increases the chances that people will remember your message
When you’re an audience-centered public speaker, you give yourself the best possible chance of people remembering the message that you have to share. That’s because you’ll have taken the time to develop a message that’s specifically designed to resonate amongst your target audience. You won’t be expecting them to remember something that has no relevance to them. You’ll be asking them to remember something that you’ve created with them in mind.
It gives you a north star to focus on
As a public speaker, it’s always a good idea to have a north star to focus on so that you can check everything that you’re doing against it. In this case, you can check your plan for your speech against the audience that you’re delivering it to so that you can ensure you’re providing them with some sort of value. You can do the same with any supplementary materials, such as your marketing messaging or your speaker bio.
It boosts your networking opportunities
One of the great things about being a public speaker is that it provides you with all sorts of networking opportunities that you might not be able to tap into elsewhere. By focusing on the audience when you deliver your talk, you increase the chances that a member of the audience will come up to speak to you after your talk is over.
The other speakers don’t need your help
Let’s face it – you’re there to give your attention to the audience and not to the other speakers. Sure, it’s polite to pay attention to their talks, but if there’s a choice between listening to someone’s talk or answering some questions that an audience member has, you should always go with the latter. The other speakers don’t need your help, and you don’t need theirs. The audience, on the other hand, will need as much care and attention as you can give them.
Now that you know just a few of the reasons why it’s a good idea for public speakers to be audience-centered, you’re in a better place to make sure that you’re doing just that. You’ll want to ensure that you’re putting the audience front and center of everything that you do.
The challenge is that this often requires a change of mindset. It also goes all the way to the heart of your talks, requiring you to think less about what you want to talk about and more about what people need to hear.
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to let us know what you think in the comments so that we can keep the discussion going. We look forward to hearing from you!