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There Is Only One, Even With An Audience of Many

When I meet someone who’s career choice is an enigma to me, it leaves me with a thousand questions.

I met a magician recently and I immediately peppered them with questions - “Can you pull a rabbit out of my hat?” “ What number am I thinking?”  “Can you teach me a magic trick?”

As a communication/public speaking coach I am often approached in this same manner.  The barrage of questions sounds something like this.  “Can you teach me how to keep my audience from looking at their phone in the middle of my presentation?“What do I do with my hands?” “Can you help me from feeling like I am going to throw up before I have to present?” 


This past weekend during a conversation someone inquired - “I am fairly eloquent when speaking to one person but as soon as that number increases I get nervous, I can’t find my words and I struggle to form complete thoughts! This is frustrating because I want to speak before larger audiences, what can I do to overcome this?” 

If you can relate, understand that much of what is holding you back is your perspective. Whether we are speaking to one person or a thousand people, imagine that you are having a 1:1 conversation, connecting with that one person, except in a larger audience there just happens to be 50, 100, a 1000 of those 1 persons.   

When you know and embrace this mindset as a speaker you shift your perspective from connecting with an audience of many to an audience of one, an “Aud-1-ence” if you will. Now that you are speaking to one person the next step is to get clear on these 3 things. 

#1 - Public Speaking AF (Audience First)

Public Speaking is NOT about you! It is about your “Aud-1-ence”, therefore answer the question “What does the Aud-1-ence WANT to know?” 

#2 - Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge

What does the Aud-1-ence NEED to know?” - in the book Made to Stick - Dan and Chip Heath discuss how the curse of knowledge leads us down a path that can easily alienate our audience. ‘The person sharing the idea knows all the nuances the receiver has no idea about. So they often end up glossing over core information, or indulging in too many details.’ 

#3 - Word Choice Matters

The best way to speak to 1 person is to use their name, this remains possible up until reaching an audience critical mass and finding yourself delivering before 100’s of people. This is where the all-powerful “YOU” takes center stage  - the reason using this word is so powerful is because it is a possessive pronoun. One of the best examples of the power of “You” is found in advertising. While these ad’s address the masses the message is directed specifically at the individual and makes it personal.

The next time you take the stage remember it is not about you it is about the aud-1-ence you are connecting with 1 person at a time. 

At Articulated Intelligence we can help YOU focus on the ONE.  Reach out and we can chat about your public speaking/presentation goals to design a program that will calm your nerves, focus your thoughts and help you find your words for 1 to 1000.

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