How to “Win Over” an Audience

“Attitude is the reflection of a person and our world mirrors our attitude.” -Earl Nightingale

As anybody that owns a dog will attest, they definitely become members of the family. They also have much to teach us about love and life. Ten years ago, we brought Sedona, family-a longhaired whippet puppy into our family. He was my first dog as an adult, and rather than being the cumbersome responsibility that I had been anticipating, owning Sedona has been an absolute joy. He’s got what motivational speakers would call a “Winning Attitude.” He goes though life with the assumption that EVERYONE is wonderful and that everyone will love him.

When we go for a walk, he sits by the feet of anyone we pass, wagging his tail, and looking at them with bright, shining eyes, as if to say, “Please pet me.” 98% of the people lavish praise on him, petting him, telling him what a beautiful dog he is, he licks their hand and moves on. The 2% that want nothing to do with him, he quickly leaves, ever eager to find his next friendly person. This attitude of positive expectations makes him a very happy dog, and one that is usually able to get what he wants.

I have noticed that many people, when getting ready for a presentation, go to it with the opposite expectation. They think their audience will be uninterested, judgmental, or derisive, and as a result they often get the type of response that they are anticipating. I have often heard that people live up or down to the expectations that are put upon them. Perhaps this is also true of audiences. When we expect the best of our audiences, we are much more likely to have a successful experience. As with Sedona, we may encounter a small percentage that wants nothing to do with us, but just as Sedona reacts, let go and quickly move on to more appreciative audience members.

Much of whether a presentation is successful depends upon the rapport that occurs between the speaker and the audience. Make sure that you set the tone for success, by going into your next presentation with a “Winning Attitude.”

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