As a frequent speaker here in Indianapolis, I’m often asked what I find challenging about public speaking. For me, it’s not figuring out what I’m going to say. The hardest part is figuring out what the audience is ready to hear.
That’s why among the best thing you can do—whether you are hiring an Indianapolis speaker or if you are just attending a speaking event in Indianapolis—is focus on being a great audience member. It may not seem like you have much of a role in the process, but what you decide to do makes all the difference to the speaker and in turn to the experience of everyone else in the room.
Turn off your phone
Or at least, set your phone to silent. Not only does this prevent your phone from having an embarrassing ring, but you should also be encouraged to put your phone away and pay attention as much as possible.
That doesn’t mean that you should not take out your phone to take pictures of the speaker or to tweet. In fact, that can be a great way to show the speaker you are engaged. But wait until the presenter indicates that they are active on Twitter or that they want pictures. And if you do use your phone, hold it up high so it’s clear to the speaker that you are not trying to hide. You’re engaging in the conversation from afar.
Take real notes
If you brought a pen and paper to the event, take notes on what the speaker has to offer. Write down major quotes. If they cite a source or another expert, write down their name as well. A quality speaker will have an outline and by taking detailed notes, you’ll be following along with the structure of the speech.
Best of all, good notes will enable you to better return to your memory of the speech later.
Allocate enough time
The right time to arrive at a speech is early enough to get your seat. The best time to leave is after the presenter is finished. Trying to sneak in late or sneak out earlier is usually disruptive. Respect the speaker and the rest of the audience by making sure you have enough time.
Come prepared with questions
Chances are you know the topic of the speech beforehand. I once went to hear a Indianapolis speaker talk about some current local affairs. I came with a few questions written down in advance. Several were answered, but I had one ready once it was time for Q&A.
With these thoughts in mind, you can be a better audience member. And if it’s easier for the speaker to engage with you, you help make the program a better experience for everyone in attendance..