Four years of communication classes shaped my understanding of verbal and nonverbal cues. I acquired many skills, but not the same skills as Liam Neeson. My Public Communication classes were the ones that tapped in to someone’s cognitive and analyzed how a person ticked. After a few classes, you begin to feel unstoppable. It can be dangerous if you let it get to your head. You should never make it obvious that you are examining an audience, manipulating them or acting like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Maintaining control of your audience is key. Once you lose their attention, you might as well pick the first volunteer in the crowd to take your spot. You have to be able to pick up on the nonverbals. Yawning. Dazed expressions. Lack of participation. Hands on faces. The list is endless. Every audience is different, so you have to play through a list of those endless possibilities and find which ones apply to your audience. After you have diagnosed your “nose pickers”, you have to get their hands out of their noses. How do you make that happen, you ask? Every public speaker tends to have their own method of maintaining an audience. I had one professor throw chocolate pieces (literally throw) at us. It worked. Whether it was the sugar or the force behind the throw… doesn’t matter. We perked up.
A wise man once said, “Great communicators run the world.” I’m not going to teach you how to manipulate an audience or provide you with strategery (thanks, Bush). I’m simply giving you advice. I’ve seen so many people lose their cool in the middle of leading. You can find your own solution to keep your audience’s attention, but one thing you can’t do is show emotion. If your group is upset at you and disorderly, you cannot give in. The moment your audience sees you break, you lose. You’re going to have that ONE GUY who is going to constantly trying to bring you down, and you are going to get irritated. You can’t let THAT GUY take control. You will more than likely deal with people with strong personalities, and you have to find the balance in maintaining order verses going off on the eager beaver in the corner.
I’m not providing you with the step-by-step process on how to win over your audience, but I am suggesting to just be cool like Fonzie.
Riley Blogging Off