Include Some Audience Participation When Speaking In Public

One effective way to capture the attention and hold the interest of your audience when you are speaking in public is to get someone from the audience up on the stage with you.  Have the person from the audience interact with you in some way before you start your actual presentation of the program.

When someone from the audience is on stage and the audience knows this person is a member of the audience they will sit up and pay attention.  They want to see what you will be doing to one of their fellow audience members.  They also are thinking they could be up there themselves and they want to at least know what you are doing in order to save themselves from embarrassment.

You may be the best speaker or presenter in the world, but nothing can equal or beat the excitement of having someone from the audience who should not be on stage now standing on the stage.  From the moment you pull the unsuspecting audience member from their seat to the stage the others in the audience are wondering “What if the speaker selects me next?”  “What am I going to do?”  Later the audience member may think “I need to pay attention to this.”  As you go more into your presentation the members of the audience may wonder “What point is he/she trying to make?”    Then finally once you have made your point, the audience will then think “Now I get it.”  Once you were able to make the audience pay attention to you they were able to listen and respond to your statement in the privacy of their minds.

The trick of having an audience member come up on stage can backfire if the person in the audience is extremely shy and very sensitive.  In this case the person may shut down and withdraw from concentrating on the rest of your presentation if they hear you calling them up to the stage.  You are interested in gaining the attention of the audience and not losing the attention of any of the members.

To avoid this kind of a problem make it clear prior to asking someone to come up on stage with you that you are asking for a volunteer.  Be sure the members of the audience know that no one will be forced to come on stage it they do not want to.  In fact, if you notice that most of, much of your audience is shy, once you finally get someone to volunteer to come on stage, the other members of the audience will almost always heave a sigh of relief.  In this case you may actually feel a breeze pass by you from their sighs.

You can get the audience to pay attention and to participate by giving due recognition.   Acknowledge single members of the audience for their specific special accomplishment or performance.  If there are special groups of people in the audience acknowledge them and let others know who these groups are, their goals, their accomplishments and other good endeavors.