Rachel Curry

How to stand out in an audience, for better or for worse

02

May 14

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CRITICIZE THE SPEAKER’S APPROACH IN YOUR MIND, LOUDLY.

Think consciously. Your thoughts are loud. If you’re saying “I could do better” or “I already know that” your body language and facial expression will communicate that to the speaker. Not only is that lame-o for them, but it also shuts you down from gaining anything new from what they have to say. These thoughts are divisive. (Eker thinks the words, “I know that” are “three most dangerous words in the English language.”)
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If you can do better, then get yourself on stage at another time. But for the moment, it’s their turn, so hush yourself and open your mind and your heart. You might actually learn something.
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FIDGET. A LOT.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with natural movements. I get it, it’s not so great for our bodies to sit for lengths of time, but funnel your extra energy into positive tactics like noticing how many times you clench your jaw, doing some subtle knee lifts to engage your thighs or abs, or using a stress ball. Contribute to the environment with your focus. So, I suggest avoiding things like making paper cranes out of every possible candy wrapper in your bag (loud!)
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GLUE YOUR FACE TO YOUR PHONE, LAPTOP, OR TABLET/NEVER LOOK AT THE PERSON SPEAKING
I don’t care if you use it to take notes or to play Candy Crush. It takes your energy away from the speaker and engaging in the topic, so you need to make conscious effort to connect with them and the content being presented. Take notes, go for it, but take moments to look up and engage, connect, and honor the speaker. The intellectual content is only part of the experience of what you have to learn.
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When I take the time to make a heart connection through eye contact with someone on stage, I communicate “I see you, I hear you.” Wouldn’t you want your audience to be communicating the same?
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TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBOR
There are exceptions, sure. Make sure it is an exception. You might want to ask yourself, is anyone’s life in danger? Can my cute comment wait?
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RUSH OUT THE DOOR AS SOON AS YOU SENSE THAT THE END IS NEAR
If you have somewhere to be, then leave, but wait until they’re finished or at a stopping point. In some cases, it will be appropriate to seek out the speaker after they’re done. Go up to them. Shake their hand. Thank them for something you liked about what they said or did. Do it because they’re human, or do it as a network-building opportunity for speakers in your professional field.
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Those who understand the dynamic relationship between speaker and listener understand that one of the most memorable things you can do is simply be present. You’d be amazed what you get out of a presentation this way! It works in meetings and conversations, too!
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MAKE IT REAL: Pick one of these points upon which to focus your awareness during the next presentation, event, or class you attend. See what happens!

 

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