If a keynote speaker really wants to make a connection to his audience, he needs to understand how they think first and how they receive speeches like his. Understanding people’s behavior is no doubt a very effective habit of observation for speakers of all kind. To give you a head start, here are 10 things every keynote speaker should know about his audience.
1. Most of them experience information overload
When you share so many valuable bits of information in your speech, some of your audience will reach a point of satiation, possible due to short attention span, brief interest or just plain inability to process more information than they are used to. Hence, you have to break down your main messages into various sections. It will also help to give a summary at the end.
2. Almost half of the audience becomes preoccupied at some point
Some of them have shorter attention span than the rest while some reminisce about things you say (like when you share an experience that they experienced too). Having their attention at first does not mean you will have it for the rest of your speech. Hence, create some activities to keep them enthusiastic and hooked up (like some games).
3. Their brains think faster but process words slower
The same goes to you. Humans process 600 words per minute but talk and listen at around 140 words per minute. Hence, you have to be alert if you are already missing out on something because thinking about something does not mean that you have really said it right and clear. Every keynote speaker should also give his audience enough time to absorb and ponder on the information they hear.
4. Majority, if not all, requires active listening to really understand what you are saying
Active listening is when a person intently listens to someone with an effort to screen distractions and focus his mind on the matter. That is just so tiresome for most people. Do not give your audience the longest hour of their lives. Make your speech concise and as short as possible (unless you are given a specifically long time to deliver).
5. They are very sensitive to noise
Noise is more distracting than is when people try to listen intently. It is like trying to take a good look at something while other people are trying to block your line of sight. Do them a favor by restricting any kind of noises before starting, and making sure that the venue is really free from noise.
6. Half of your audience has hearing problems
Their levels of hearing are not all the same. Hence, voice projection and a good set of microphone is a must (some speakers even bring their own mic).
7. It is natural for them to assume hearing something they really did not
For some reason, many people in the audience do this. Reduce the incidence of misinterpretation and miscommunication by giving a clear summary at the end.
8. Many of them have no idea what your speech is for
Some are attending because they have to. Some are there because they are genuinely interested to hear you, while some of them have no idea why they are there in the first place. Win all of them by showing off your charisma and presenting your speech in a comprehensive, entertaining way.
9. Most of them do not like taking the spotlight
A keynote speaker might be used to the spotlight, but not the audience. Do not surprise them by calling names or pointing at some people. That could be embarrassing for some.
10. They are more impressed with enthusiasm than knowledge
In a study conducted by the Stanford University, it was discovered that 85% of all sales made are due to the enthusiasm of the salesperson. Only 15% happened because of knowledge. Your enthusiasm can still take you a long way.
Keynote speakers are often mistaken as motivational speakers, inspirational speakers, plenary speakers, breakout speakers.To become a memorable keynote speaker, one has to connect to his audience.