Bonus today — two tips for the price of one!Heard a speaker do multiple sessions this weekend. That is a tough nut no matter how you crack it. Keeping people engaged is hard, and even harder across breaks and days (welcome to the life of a trainer!).This particular speaker — full of energy himself — kept asking the audience, “Are you with me?” I suppose that I’m not particularly against this comment in and of itself, even though for a group of more than about a half dozen it is pretty useless (NO one in the audience is very likely to shout out, “NO! I’m lost.” And if they’re asleep they won’t answer.). But it was asked MANY times. So many that several people who don’t coach speakers for a living noticed it.Anything the audience notices that isn’t related to your message is a distraction. And when it’s something that we as a speaker are supposed to either handle or know (a professional speaker should know if the audience is ‘getting it’ or ‘with me’), then it is not so much a question as a comfort zone and pause for the speaker. And it gives rise to a chance to LOSE the audience, which is exactly opposite the stated intent of the question, which is to RETAIN their attention. When it becomes repetitive, it also becomes annoying.
Unless related to your message, keep repeated phrases to a minimum.Don’t ask the audience for information you should already know
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