So how do I think about building trust with the audience? If you don’t build trust with your audience, you don’t inspire them and you certainly don’t teach them.
Five Ideas to Build Trust with an Audience
- Be prepared. The key to lowering stress before stage and on the stage is be prepared, but it also shows you care. We often say prepare, show you care. If you don’t prepare, think of somebody, think of a speaker that gets something says, well I didn’t have much time to work on this so I’m kind of, what does that say? You didn’t care at all about the audience, you didn’t care about my time, you didn’t care about me, I am not going to listen to you. Prepare to show you care.
- Create a safe environment. If you don’t create a safe environment they don’t learn and they are not going to be with you. By the way your audience feels as one however you treat any one of them individually. So I’m watching this great magician and I see him pulling a volunteer up from stage and he treats that volunteer not very well. And then I watch him lose his audience because he didn’t treat that one person well. Because however you treat one is how they all feel.
- Make it relevant to them. They don’t care so much about you, they care about themselves. This is why the most motivating idea is not usually from some great motivational speaker that climbed Mount Everest because your audience isn’t going to do that. The most motivating idea is one that I can use to help me today or tomorrow. Make it relevant to them. Always be asking, what this means for you is, what this means for me is, what this means for us is we can do this with this or this with that, to help us change our situation for the better.
- Be engaging. You know we’re competing against the best speakers in the world from TED Talks to live TV to movie trailers. It’s got to be engaging today, there’s such competition for attention spans.
- Make it about them. You know when I started speaking more about 20 years ago, my wife would travel with me all the time, we didn’t have kids yet, and we would be backstage and I would see this big audience and I was scared to death to go out and get on that stage and I’d have butterflies and I was worried. And Lisa my wife would say almost every time, David, just love them. They can tell when you love them. Stop thinking about yourselves, stop thinking about the research, stop thinking about this, just love them. And that’s true for every speaker that is most engaging, they actually care about their audience more. I still try to go back into that framework every time I get on the platform, just love them. They can tell, even if you’re imperfect if you love them.