If you Like Them, They Will Like You

When you see experienced public speakers, sometimes it seems they can cast a spell on an audience. You as an audience member know what that spell feels like. And one of the first pieces of evidence that this public speaker was going to keep this audience in the palm of his hand is that you almost instinctively liked him or her. And the interesting thing about that “spell” is that once you genuinely like this speaker, you naturally are open to his presentation, you listen more attentively and you are more open to suggestion if the speaker is driving to a point.

So as you prepare to begin doing some public speaking, its natural to want to know how to make that spell work for you. We all have a natural feeling of insecurity or inferiority and we worry that the audience will not like us and our presentation will go badly. So you wonder if that speaker just naturally more likable than you or did he use some public speaking magic to make the audience like him.

The answer is twofold. First, no, that public speaker is not more likable than you. That is just your insecurity talking to you and you need to tell that insecurity to take a hike because it is not going to do you a bit of good becoming a better public speaker. And secondly, yes there is something that public speaker knows to make his or her audience like them but no, it isn’t magic at all. It is something anyone who stands in front of a crowd can use and it will work every time.

The secret really isn’t very complicated at all. You just have to learn to like the audience. That may seem simple but buried in that idea is a powerful principle of psychology. When you step in front of a crowd and you have trained yourself to like them, it comes out in every aspect of your posture and the way you behave. You will smile more, make eye contact and actually find yourself wanting to interact with them during the course of your presentation.

Now don’t be concerned if your speech or presentation is not interactive in a dialog sort of way. But if you have spoken to a small group before, you know that there is a lot of interaction going on even during a one-way speech. That speaker who charmed you that day with that “magic” knows that interaction goes on all the time. As you speak, you get feedback in the form of body language and facial expressions that let you know how you are doing. And by starting out with a fundamental warmth and affectionate relationship with an audience, that feedback is warm and affectionate as well and that only makes the presentation more of a success.

The trick to learning to like your audience lies in looking for good reasons to like them. We use the word “trick” for a good reason.’ Any reason to like them will do. You don’t have to like every individual in the audience. You might like the clothing they are wearing or the faces of individuals in the audience. You might like certain ones you know or a few you met and found a chemistry with early on. You can even like a crowd just because you find a few in that group attractive. By focusing on the ones you like, your warmth toward them will spread to the rest of the audience as you speak. Before long you will have that crowd in the palm of your hand and use that magic spell to make your presentation a success. Then you will remember this little “trick”. And you will use it often for public speaking success every time.