By Nan Nan Liu-Maffetone | Strong Female Leaders | Reading Time: Five Minutes
How to connect with any audience?
Ever wonder how top entertainers can step onto the stage and immediately connect with the audience? They look like they were born with natural charisma, but that is far from the truth. Having such strong charisma and connecting quickly with the audience are skills that must be learned and practiced. Even if someone has raw talent, she has to continuously improve her speaking skills to wow the audience and make it look easy. Whether your audience consists of hundreds of people, or a team, or just one person, you need to hone your speaking skills to consistently create a meaningful and long-lasting connection with anyone. Being able to do this can take you far. If you want to know how, scroll down and take a look at the tips below.

1. Be authentic.
Whichever topic you are speaking about, whether you are introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between, your passion, knowledge and experience will come through. Your audience will, in turn, not only see and hear the authenticity in your message, but feel it too. When someone feels the same emotions as you do, the connection establishes effortlessly. There is chemistry between the two of you, and there is an invigorating vibe in the room.
Authenticity cannot be faked, manipulated or reproduced by another person. It is a manifestation of your DNA in any given situation. If you truly believe in yourself and in what you say, you will always connect with your audience no matter what.
2. Know your audience.
Who are you speaking to? What are their backgrounds? Why should they care about what you have to say? These are just some of the questions that you have to ask in order to establish a strong connection. If you do your homework and get to know your audience beforehand, then you can customize your talking points to their interests and add value to their lives. Knowing your audience shows that you truly care about them. In turn, they will care about your words. They will connect with, respect and trust you, as a leader and as a person. If you get to know your audience, you are as good as gold.
3. Speak with your body.
Your body talks too, and sometimes it talks louder than your words. Your micro expressions, gestures, stance and tone all indicate your conviction, confidence and command. The stronger your body language ius, the more respectful and trustworthy you are. As a leader, you want to be both respected and trusted. You want to come across as warm but not weak, enthusiastic but not overzealous, and respectful but not aloof.

4. Prepare an agenda.
Let your audience know what they are walking into. People don't like surprises. It leaves them feeling anxious and out of control. When you are the speaker, you already leave the audience feeling out of control and a little uncomfortable too. Provide comfort by letting them know your agenda, talking points, and your objectives. This will not only alleviate tension but also instill trust. It also sets the boundary early, so when the conversation gets off topic, you can guide it back according to agenda.
5. Create a dialogue.
Having an open dialogue with your audience is crucial to making a meaningful connection. When the presentation gets too formal, you lose the relatedness. Think of your audience as your family and friends, and imaging that you are at the Christmas dinner with them. You will feel at ease and shed all pretentiousness. When you feel your personal best, you perform at your best level.
6. Tell stories.
While presenting data and facts are fine, they don't resonate with the audience as much as stories do. If you weave your speech into a story that is engaging, heart-felt and entertaining, your audience will appreciate your efforts, remember your passion, and be influenced and moved by your words.
7. Use simple and concrete words.
Your language should not confuse or demean others. Your audience do not enjoy feeling like they are being talked down to. Use simple vocabulary, concrete verbage and clear language. Keep every sentence short, to the point and purposeful. Let your audience know that you are on the same level.

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