How To Charm Your Audience
This short post will help you understand how to charm your audience.
Many people have come to me and asked
“How can I be more authoritative with my audience?”; and
“How can I be more charismatic on stage when speaking?”
Imagine the scene.
Jenny, who has been afraid of speaking up in meetings or has avoided public speaking opportunities all her life, suddenly starts presenting zoom calls like Oprah Winfrey after reading one blog post.
It’s just not realistic.
For one, Jenny would feel too self-conscious to start faking authority or charisma so suddenly, and it would be so far removed from her usual style that her colleagues would sense something was up.
There’s nothing wrong with trying a new style on for size, but before you jump to highly demanding personas like authority or charisma, we can try on something a little less bold and learn how to charm instead.
Like anything else in life, when attempting a seemingly impossible or insurmountable challenge like overcoming your public speaking nerves, you will want to find the path of least resistance.
The path of least resistance is like walking down a smooth paved road, as opposed to trekking through thick jungle.
Learning how to charm other people is easy when you know the formula.
Charm is a simple combination of three things:
You can project ‘warm energy’ to your audience through the use of natural but soft gestures and facial expressions.
If you’ve ever been to the hospital, think of how a nurse might treat you. Their caring and nurturing demeanour put us at ease naturally without them even having to say much.
Adopt a soft smile that conveys understanding and patience. Use subtle expressions, both facial and when gesturing, rather than bold or commanding body language.
It might sound like a fluffy word, but warmth is an incredibly powerful approach to take with an audience. The ability to present a warm, glowing front can easily disarm even the most enraged customer or tough crowd.
You can develop the skill of empathy to make an audience warm to you even more
The key to projecting empathy is to display understanding.
One of the best examples of empathy from the stage is Derren Brown.
Derren Brown is a mentalist and magician if you’ve been living under a rock, and he runs a series of stage shows every year to his adoring fans.
But the strange thing about Derren’s performances is that you feel like you know him, even though you have never met him.
His tone, when speaking to his audience, is friendly and conversational.
It’s as if it’s just you and him, and he seems to know how you feel, and what you’re thinking all the way through his performance.
What this clip to see how he immediately enters the stage with the assumption that his audience like him, respect him, and understand him just as a friend would.
No need for lengthy warm-ups or introductions. He enters the stage and connects instantly.
He hardly ever seems forceful and yet he is still in command.
Practice your conversational tone and your audience will warm to your charm as they feel that deep sense of connection that comes from empathy.
Vulnerability is perhaps the most difficult of the skills we have discussed because to be vulnerable means to really let yourself go.
Many speakers will approach the stage shielded by their degrees, research, data, or presentation style.
Just think of all these things as baggage. Baggage weighs you down.
What your audience really wants is to get a sense of who you REALLY are. Your audience will be charmed by you, not the person you pretend to be.
Nobody wants to see a fake version of you. They want to see you.
It’s the equivalent of going on a first date and taking your partner to the fanciest restaurant in town.
By the time it gets to the third date, how do you explain that you don’t spend all your time at the Ivy and would prefer a cosy night in or a walk by the canal?
All your razzle-dazzle will come off as fake if you can’t be consistent with it you’ll be perceived as inauthentic.
Just do what your mum always told you and ‘be yourself’.
The Bottom Line
If we were to look at a power spectrum where authority was at the far right end, we would find charm at the opposite end.
People with authority can certainly influence other people, but it can bring up feelings of resistance as their audience may feel controlled or manipulated.
Charm, on the other hand, is just as powerful but attracts and persuades an audience to see things your way.
These are very different forces.
The great thing is that everyone, including those with a naturally charismatic or authoritative presence, can learn how to charm an audience.
You will become confident at public speaking the moment you accept yourself as you are and at that same moment, your audience will be charmed by the real you.
Just apply the simple combination of Warmth, Empathy, and Vulnerability and you will know how to charm the pants off any audience you choose.
If you liked this post and want to know more about conquering your fears of public speaking or how to improve your online presentations come and join our Presentation Clinic for free.
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