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Get 'Em on Stage

During your public speaking training you will learn that is very funny to involve the audience by getting them on stage with you. In fact, almost every presentation I do, I find a reason to get an audience member on stage with me.
When you get someone from the audience on stage with you, the rest of the audience will be compelled to watch what's going on for the following reasons:

1. They want to see what is going to happen to one of their own.

2. They are priming themselves to be up there.

3. They are worrying to death that they may be asked to be up there.

The first two reasons are good because the observing audience member is thinking, "I want to watch to see what my colleague will say or what will happen to them while they are on stage. No matter how good of a presenter you are, you can't compete with the excitement that someone from the audience generates by being on stage with you. My public speaking training teaches you how to generate this kind of excitement on stage and in the audience.

The other thought is, "I BETTER watch what is going on in case I am asked to go up there." This mindset is good because it makes the audience member to think about the point you are trying to make, in case they are asked up too. 

The third reason is not so great because the shy or sensitive audience members will withdraw from what you are saying, because they are scared you will ask them to stand up in front of everyone. Remembering what you learned in your public speaking course includes how to be sensitive to the needs of all the members of your audience. This chance of audience withdrawal is easily eliminated by the following statement.
"In a moment I'm going to ask for some volunteers to come on stage with me. Don't worry. No one will have to come up if they don't want to." If you have a high percentage of shy audience members, you will almost feel the breeze as they breathe a sigh of relief. 

According to a study done at the University of Wichita, public recognition is a top motivator of people. If you claim to be a "motivational" public speaker of some sort, you need to incorporate this and use your public profile when speaking to give out some much sought after public recognition. I find out the good things that particular audience members have done during my extensive pre-program research.

  • Recognize a single audience member for a particular achievement, or for a period of high performance.
  • Recognize a group of audience members for a particular achievement, or period of high performance.

While they are on-stage, highlight their achievement or performance with some kind of certificate. Make sure you include your company name at the bottom of the certificate, because many times they will be hung on the wall which will give you free publicity.

You can also get audience members on stage with you to do some sort of demonstration. I do a funny one where I'm demonstrating differing personal space across cultures. The person helping me gets a good laugh from the audience as we interact.

Knowing how to anticipate the possible outcomes of your presentation is a skill learned from your public speaking training. Try to have adlibs planned and ready to go for many of the comments or questions you anticipate from the people on stage. You can also have someone on stage to assist you in writing on the flip chart, changing overheads, or to blow a horn when someone in the audience asks a good question. Let your imagination have its way when planning your presentation.

Whenever, someone is up there to assist you, make sure you give them some kind of prize. One of your products is usually good because it gives you a chance to mention it without using a hard sell. And just about always lead the audience in a round of applause for the helper as they return to their seat.

 

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