"I'm not getting the same reaction from my audience."

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2021

Recently, a client (in STEM) said, "I'm not getting the same reaction from my audience." That "the audience doesn't seem to be as enthusiastic about my subject matter." I asked if his subject matter is still relevant to his audience and the profile of his audience is more or less the same as when he had a positive reaction. He replied, "yes."

In the theater, people use several sayings to describe a show that's been running a long time, and it's no longer exciting to watch. One of them is "the show is stale." When a show is "stale," from the audience's view, it seems like the actors are going through the motions. The entire cast knows "the butler did it" at the end of Act II. The cast goes through the show "acting" surprised, in love, hate, lust, and suspense. Worse is when they "act" as if the stakes are high when they are thinking more about their cousin in the 5th row, seated center right, and where they will go out to eat after the show that makes a fabulous margarita. When an actor does this, it's also called "phoning it in." The crafted actor who is highly conscious of this trap spends endless hours learning tools and techniques to make their performance new eight times a week, so they are truly surprised, in love, hate, in suspense, and each show is genuinely high stakes.  

This exact parallel happens to business professionals, especially when they present technical information repetitiously, they describe as "dry," or if their job has become perfunctory. So when a client comes to me, stating a version of this issue, I ask, "how were your presentations and communication engagements in the beginning? Inevitably, I'd get answers like "very different." "I was learning a lot back then." "then, I was more interested in this subject," "everything was new, it kept me on my toes."

If your message is more or less the same and its relevance is more or less the same, reexamining your attitude towards your subject, position, relationships, and your company is what I recommend. If your attitude and approach towards your subject are "dry" and perfunctory, you can't expect your audience to be engaged, motivated, and feel compelled to collaborate. 

So, how do you make your message interesting that you authentically see as boring and "dry"?

The short answer is, you need to change how you authentically view your message.

The following are some Traps & Solutions to authentically transform your attitude. 

Trap: Taking your subject and, or audience for granted. It's like a relationship. If you take your relationship for granted and don't look for new things to share, your relationship will likely go "stale," yes? Same regarding your relationship to your subject and your work in general. Reinvest in your purpose. Why are you saying what you're saying?  

SOLUTION: Make an executive decision to find something new regarding your subject and your audience, and share this new awareness with your audience. 

TRAP: Continue to take the attitude that your subject/message is "dry."

SOLUTION: Make a decision that your subject is exciting and find what is exciting about it, and share that with your audience.

TRAP: "act" interested in your subject

SOLUTION: Find something interesting about your subject something anchored in your values and share your interest with your audience

 

TRAP: "act" as if what you're saying is important

SOLUTION: Reinvest in your values of what is important about your subject and share it with your audience

 

TRAP: Don't take one person, one moment, one anything for granted.

SOLUTION: Decide to see something new in each moment, each person, each point of discussion, and include this with your audience. 

 

BIGGEST TRAP: Practicing the above solutions in your head. If you intellectualize the solutions ONLY, you will likely have minimal results.

BIGGEST SOLUTION: Practice out loud and in private initially, so there is no fear of judgment. When you practice, give yourself a license to be big and animated. You are seeking to have an emotional experience, an emotional involvement, not an intellectual awakening, only, which is a critical step to experience a behavioral transformation and to keep your audience's reaction highly positive. 

 

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