Speaking to an audience of one - Keynote speaking

As I was recording a session for an upcoming virtual conference today, Ann Handley whispered in my ear.

Not literally. We’re all sheltering in place.

Ann said in one of her many talks on email marketing that when you write an email newsletter, no matter how many subscribers are on your list, only one person is reading at a time. You’re writing a letter to that person.

At these larger virtual events, think about what’s happening. You’re not doing a talk to a room with a thousand people in it. For the foreseeable future, when you’re “speaking” on stage, you’re still talking to one person in their home office (probably).

So, should you be yelling into your microphone like you’re on a big stage?

Should you be addressing “the crowd” and saying things like “Hey guys! It’s great to see you all here!”?

Or are you having what’s effectively a telephone conversation or a FaceTime with a friend?

As a speaker, you may feel like you’re still on stage. But to the audience? They feel like it’s a one-on-one conversation with you – until you open your mouth and treat them like an anonymous face in a crowd.

Consider treating your “talks” like a talk with a friend rather than a talk on a stage. It’ll drastically change how you speak, how you present, and will resonate far better with the individual person on the other end of the connection – even if there are a thousand of them, you’re still having one conversation at a time.

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