Friday, September 14, 2012

Why do audiences remember you?

If you think back to your schooldays, and the teachers you loved and hated, I bet that many of your memories are about their mannerisms, voice or appearance. It's the unusual characteristics that tend to define people, and live long in the memory. None of us is perfect, and we all have little quirks that we may display when we are speaking. The thing is, you are not there to be remembered for your strange turn of phrase or odd socks. Your aim is to be remembered for your message.

That's why attention to detail matters. It's also why you need to analyse your speeches on video, as well as taking feedback from trusted colleagues. That doesn't mean you have to appear in a bland, unadorned outfit and eliminate every bit of character from your voice. Far from it. It does mean that you have to be aware of how your audience is reacting to what you wear, how you move and how you speak, and to ensure that whatever quirk you display does not overwhelm your main purpose.

Every stand-up comedian knows that they need to draw attention to anything unusual about themselves as quickly as possible, and turn it into humour. It then ceases to be of any great interest to the audience. Speakers can do exactly the same thing, or even have it mentioned as part of their introduction.

Every time you are about to speak, check yourself out in a long mirror. If there's someone else around, ask them to check you over too. When you analyse your speeches, look out for over-used gestures or repeated phrases. Being aware of them will help you to stop them from being a distraction. Make sure that your message is the thing that is remembered.

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