Public Speaking: Impress your audience.

July 20th, 2010 by Frank Damelio

Discover the secret to impressing and connecting with your audience.

Attendees at my pubic speaking trainings often say that they have taken “similar” courses on presentations by the big-name companies, and that my techniques are more thorough and insightful.  This is because we all cover the same basics, but I also add a plethora of techniques that I developed as a professional sleight-of-hand performer.   I learned far more about effective presenting in the entertainment industry than I did in the corporate arena.

 I’ll share with you one major discovery I uncovered through magic.  In my circle of professional magicians, we often discuss what is the “best” trick for an audience.  At a show, I might throw your signed card through a window, bend your signed coin in your own hand, and turn singles into hundred dollar bills.   Solid magic.   My peers accomplish similar effects.  We unanimously agree on what impresses an audience the most, and it’s a trick YOU can do… remember their names.

Clearly, this “trick” has limitations.  It is unlikely to work with a full auditorium, but it is quite effective at meetings and classroom-size presentations.  If you can remember the names of your audience members and use those names through your presentation and Q&A, you are golden.  I have already written about some great strategies to remembering names here  but I want to include a new technique I’ve been using that makes it even easier.

When you arrive early, you have an opportunity to meet attendees as they trickle in.  My secret is upon introduction, I create a visual that I associate with the person’s name.  Here are some examples:

Mike: I will visualize him talking into a mic while we chat.

Sarah: Piece of cake on her shoulder (Sara Lee brand of course)

Wendy: Burger

Karen: Carrot

Bob: Apple (corny but it works for me)

You can make these up on the spot.  Some will only make sense to you.  Burn that image into your mind so when you see them a bit later, you have your memory hook that enables you to recall their name.  It works like a charm.  When you are done with your presentation and Q&A be prepared to have many people remark, “you are amazing.  How do you remember all of our names?”  You might want to send them a link to this blog.

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10 Responses to “Public Speaking: Impress your audience.”

  1. Rita Schiano Says:

    Excellent advice, Frank. I always try my best to remember names and you are so right…people do appreciate being called by their names so very much.

  2. Steven Park Says:

    When someone remembers my name, it makes me think i matter to them, and will be more open to their proposal.
    Simple but effective
    Thanks Frank.

  3. Jason Kallio Says:

    Why are people impressed? Because this is not easy to do. So, do not give up trying. Just think, you can practice every day with the people that you meet. You will get it.

  4. John Miller Says:

    Frank, you are spot on my friend. I was giving a small talk at my daughters driving school class and while the instructor was taking attendance I wrote down their names and placed the names on a sheet of paper in exact order of their seating. One teenage student said, “Uh you are kind of freaking me out that you know my name.” It was a real attention getter and kept them on track as well.

  5. Vinod Vaidyanath Says:

    You are so correct about that. I do try and remember people’s name by associating their names with something else that I can recall when needed. Thanks for the tip.

  6. April Yu Says:

    Fantastic, Frank! I totally agree that remembering people’s names are critical to effective communication. They will be so impressed and feel respected. I like the idea to relate their names with something visual.
    Thanks for the insightful advice!

  7. Jodie Gerulaitis Says:

    Love it! Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Debbie Gregoire-Lefebvre Says:

    I have been doing this for years and it really leaves a lasting impression on the person.

  9. Irene C. Says:

    Hi Frank, I have used association with names when meeting people for quite some time. It really works. I have noticed that people are more apt to converse in friendly manners when their name is remembered.

  10. Stephen Hendren - presentation skills trainer Says:

    Excellent tip about names, i shall be sure to use it. Another tip to help remember names is when people introduce themselves to you, when you reply use their name in the first sentence you say, it helps to fix it in your memory.

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