How to Warm-Up Your Audience For Live-Speaking Events
How to Warm-Up Your Audience For Your Public Speaking Event.
So, you’ve done it. You’ve decided to make the giant leap to the stage.
Once you’ve written your signature speech, the rehearsal process can get started.
But right now, you are a one-woman show.
You’ll need to gain some skill at rehearsing yourself, taking notes, and changing the script when needed. You’ll need to coordinate your own props and costumes. You might even need to coach the person introducing you, and you likely will have to do at least some marketing for yourself.
All this starts with a brilliant opening. The opening is your bio, your appearance, your body language, stage presence, and your introduction.
How to Open For Yourself.
Ever been to a comedy club or a live-studio taping of a talk show?
Before the show begins and the stars arrive, there’s a person who warms up the audience for the star. If you’ve ever watched Ellen or Oprah, the audience isn’t magically energetic.
The, “warmer,” helps pull the energy into the room and primes the people to be more receptive and energetic. This person is gregarious, outgoing, confident, and engaging.
But you don’t have a warmer. It’s just you onstage. In fact, the person introducing you may have dull or low energy.
Dull, low energetic introductions make for unreceptive audiences.
I performed in the stage show Nunsense, a funny, small ensemble musical. Instead of only performing onstage, our director told us to go, “warm up the audience,” by chatting up the room before the curtain went up.
Since we were dressed in full Nun habits from head to toe, we already looked the part; fully in character as cooky and fun nuns. We relied on audience members to give us bits to work with. The audience members were automatically included in the show and started laughing as soon as they sat down. We received standing ovations every night.
Warm-up your audience by writing your own introduction and having the person introducing you rehearse with you. Make sure they know how to pronounce your name and have them say it two or three times to make sure.
I’ve been introduced as Leia Han Hale, which is awesome for Star Wars fans, but unfortunately, not my name.
You can also make a slide show featuring funny or interesting photos of you to play while you are being introduced. While you don’t want to use lots of slides during the speech, you can use them before you speak. Particularly if the introductions are dull and lifeless.
Who controls the slide show? You do, with your Ipad or smartphone somewhere in the room. Work out the details with the event coordinator and make sure they realize you’ll be showing the slides.
You’ve made it to the stage. Now you need to put your audience at ease. The audience will send your own energy back to you. They will be relaxed if you are relaxed. They will be on edge if you are on edge. So square your shoulders and take a deep breath, then let the breath out. Calm your mind and reassure yourself you’ve rehearsed well.
Move to the microphone. If the room is silent, you can start.
What if the room isn’t silent? What do you do if people are speaking or eating in the room? What do you do to quiet the room or get people’s attention?
You stand silently and confidently. You wait. Most audiences will quiet in about 3-5 seconds. If they don’t, you can raise your palm and say, “thank you.” Silence is easier than shouting or starting when your audience isn’t ready.
Once your audience is ready, you can begin your speech.
If you don’t know exactly how to create that compelling first statement or story for your speech, check out,
“How to Create a Powerful Opening for Your Public Speech.”