Engage Your Audience Part 1: Show Up and Speak Up

True, we live in a digital world, but still nothing quite beats a face-to-face meeting. There’s something about being able to look into another’s eyes, read their body language, and feel their intention that solidifies relationships faster than any other approach.

Which is why I implore you to get out in the world and connect with real, live people.

Attend networking and speaking engagements, but don’t sit back and say nothing. Show up and speak up (but listen more).

Here’s a powerful tip. When you’re attending an event, make it your intention to come away with one thing. Just one thing.

What’s that one thing, you ask?

Well you won’t know until you walk away with it. That one thing can be a new business contact, it could be a coffee date, or it could be knowledge. The point is to go into the event open to receiving that one nugget, because when you’re looking for it, it’ll find you, and you’ll recognize it.

Always look for that one thing. Treat it like a game. Plus the hunt will keep you from mentally checking out.

Now I think you should know… the old method of power networking is dead. It’s all about relationship building now. You don’t need to receive a million business cards; you need a powerful, meaningful few.

When you’re out circulating with people, make it your intention to truly connect with them. Do that by listening.

Listen more than you talk.

Ask questions.

Spend time with them and give them your undivided attention.

Make eye contact and be open.

Answer their questions, and share from your heart.

In my experience, it’s more important to get business cards than to give them. Jot notes down about the person you were talking to – their business, their struggles, and their desires – so that when you follow up you can make a personal connection.

So what’s even better than attending a networking function or speaking event? Speaking to the audience at the function or event.

Speak up.

You likely have a simple solution to a problem that many people have. I mean you’re in the business of providing solutions, right? You surely have one to share.

The point of your presentation is to provide value to the audience, while showing them that you’re there to help them with more an even more in-depth solution.

People will remember you for your passion, your confidence, your attention, and your connection to them more than they’ll remember the content.

If you’re just starting to speak (or are terrified), join Toastmasters and get comfortable with the notion of public speaking, then start offering free talks in the places that your people hang out.

Are you a health coach? Maybe offer to give a talk at your local yoga studio about the mind, body, nutrition trio.

Do you own a tutoring business? Maybe give a talk at a parents’ meeting about better study habits.

Are you a career coach? Offer a continuing education seminar on resume writing or interviewing tips.

Go where your audience hangs out and give them a couple of solutions to some of the challenges they’re dealing with.

Whether you’re at a networking event or are the presenter at a local event, be sure to make eye contact, have fun, and be confident. You know your stuff, I know you do.

And remember, you’re simply there to share your passion and your authentic self with a few other people so they can connect with you and your brilliance.

Let your brilliance shine.

Get connected with those around you.

Seek out relationships you can build upon.

That’s how you engage your audience and build a successful business. One relationship at a time.

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