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<i>Attention,</i> Audience! Be SPEAKER CENTERED – <i>Please!</i>

AudiBeing Audience Centered is a mandate for speakers.  Great presenters know: It’s all about the audience, and not about them.  When a speaker takes their focus off the audience the presentation suffers and the odds of them GETTING IT! lessen.

In most cases, the audience came to learn something, not to see or hear the speaker.

We speakers are the messengers.  It’s incumbent upon us to deliver information in a manner that educates, entertains and simply explains it.

However, it’s a Two-Way Street.  We speakers need things from the audience to do our job to the best of our ability.  We need the Audience to be Speaker Centered.  They should be focusing on the Speaker!

Here are some of those things that will help us Deliver Better to You:

  1. Give us your undivided attention – Please!

  2. It’s discourteous to the speaker and others in the audience not to.

  3. Turn OFF! your cell phones and beepers.

  4. Don’t talk to your neighbor.

  5. Don’t read anything.

  6. Unless it’s an address delivered during a meal, Don’t eat anything.

  7. Do look at us, our slides and props.

  8. This is how we measure if we’re getting our message across – or not.

  9. We may be doing all the talking, but the best of us constantly “take your temperature.”

  10. We look for eye contact because if you’re looking at us, you’re probably paying attention.

  11. We look at your facial expressions and body language.

  12. Those voluntary and involuntary movements let us know if your’e GETTING IT!  If not, shame on us.  But it’s only by knowing we’re missing the mark that we can restate, repeat or make more clear our message.

  13. If we’re making our points, we’ll know it via those signs.  That knowledge energizes us! We thrive on knowing we’re communicating well and that improves our delivery.

  14. Positive feedback from you also lessens our Fear of Public Speaking.  (Yes, many of us do have that fear.)

  15. Be an active listener and learn something!

  16. Even if you’re not in the audience by choice, as long as you’re there you can learn something.  Open up your mind to that and you’ll benefit.

  17. Acknowledge our efforts.

  18. Sure, not all of us are very good at this.  Many speakers are terrible communicators.  Some didn’t want the role, but were either assigned the job or “stepped up” when no one else volunteered.

  19. Remember, please, that public speaking is a very real fear to lots and lots of people.  Give those at the lectern credit for “just being up there.”  (Most of the audience would not trade places with them.)

  20. Applaud when the speaker closes their presentation.

  21. It’s polite and acknowledges the time and effort put into the presentation.  Even if you disagree with the speaker – applaud.

  22. Thank them personally!

  23. It’s not always possible, but it will mean a lot to the speaker.

  24. Stick around after the presentation, shake their hand, and thank them for their message, even if you didn’t agree with it.  (Put yourself in their shoes.  Don’t you like to be appreciated?)

  25. If you learned something, tell them!

  26. In person is best, but an email or sending a hand written note would be great, also.

  27. Too many people, even if they enjoyed the speaker and benefited from their message, just pick themselves up and leave when the presentation closes.  Many speakers are not getting paid for their presentation.  Even if they are compensated, the renumeration is not consistent with the time and effort the presenter spent prior to speaking.

  28. Often, their only payback is knowing they made a difference to someone.  They won’t know if you don’t tell them!

  29. Even if the talk was less than stellar, acknowledge the effort.  (Remember Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “The Man in the Arena Speech.”  The point he made was that credit goes to the person in the arena, even if you’re “getting your butt kicked” rather than ‘those poor timid souls who know neither the thrill of victory nor the agony of defeat!’“)

  30. If you have suggestions for improving our presentation, let us know – please!

  31. Perhaps you believe we have a fact wrong, could have added information or done something that would have made the presentation better and helped the audience GET IT!

  32. I want to know, and people have told me.

  33. I once finished a presentation and was given a better way to ask for questions from the audience.  It works much better than what I’d been doing, and I have always appreciated that person taking time to advise me.

  34. Some of you make our day, and we’re thrilled you are in the audience!

  35. I’ll usually thank several participants for the attention and great feedback they provided during my presentation.  I kiddingly ask them to “sit in the first, second, and third rows” the next time I speak!

  36. We speakers love these folks!  They really help us do a better job. – Thank you!

Before attending an event: if attending is your choice, investigate the program, speaker and subject.  Don’t attend if you don’t think it will be valuable to you.  All subjects and all speakers are not for all audiences.

The next time you’re in the audience, please take the above advice, pass it on to others, and be Speaker Centered!

For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you a FREE Gift. Go to: to receive it!

About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and author of the book, “No Sweat Public Speaking!” Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts. Perception is reality and we rather deal with Experts. They also know: Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities. He shows them how to Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – No Sweat!

PHoto Credit: Phillip Stearns

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