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Public Speaking AF - 3 Strategies to Engage Your Audience

The 3 Strategies: 

#1 - Audience First (AF)

What’s the “#1 Thing” the audience wants and needs?

#2 - For your “#1 Thing”...

Provide supporting data, stories, audience participation and visual to drive it home.

#3 - Say It Out Loud

Whether written or spoken, say the words you are using to communicate out loud. If they sound snobby or don’t make sense when you hear them, change them.


When we have the chance to present we have a tendency to share what’s important to us. But you know what, the audience only really cares about what’s important to them so when presenting you need to ask and answer the question “what is the #1 thing my audience wants and needs?”

Why it matters: By answering the “#1 Thing” question you will be putting the Audience First (AF). I have learned, through personal experience and from other speaking professionals, that the audience will forget 50% of what you said 30 minutes after you finish speaking and forget 95% of what you shared one week later and that’s only if you are really good. That’s why you need to understand what the “#1 Thing” is and speak to it using story, data, audience participation and visual aids.

When communicating the “#1 Thing” make sure you say it out loud before presenting or publishing it.  People are already taking in a lot of information so don't make it harder with complex sentence structure and college entrance exam words.  Speak like you would when having a conversation with someone.  Make your communication inviting and easy to process.

Details: In the Driven by Insight podcast, hosted by Willy Walker, he interviews Mike Allen, Co-founder of Axios. Axios' mantra is “Audience First”, which Mike Allen explains is at the heart of everything they do. They have implemented a number of simple strategies to support their mantra which has made Axios the go to for easily digestible news and information. 

While Articulated Intelligence is not in the news business, we are, like Axios, in the communication business and share a similar mindset.  We coach business professionals on creating engaging presentations where you put the audience first and focus on the “#1Thing”.  And central to all our coaching is the concept of saying it out loud. What you plan to communicate may look good on paper or sound good inside your head, but until your ears have heard it, you won’t know for sure. For us we are all about helping business professionals become better storytellers and the operative word there is “teller”, not story-author or story-thinker but teller.  Live Life Well Spoken! 

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