Ways to Attract an Unfamiliar Audience


Have you ever had to speak in front of a large audience? So many people get nervous when it comes to public speaking. They might feel uncomfortable about their appearance, how they sound or it’s just an unfamiliar situation. Sometimes, this is similar to how if feels when you have to present your business to an unfamiliar crowd. So, here are a few tips on ways to attract an unfamiliar audience.

1. Prepare for your audience. Study your new audience and understand what is different about them and how they compare to whom you usually do business with. Also be prepared to do a little improvisation as well since this is an unfamiliar audience you may have to think fast.

2. Make it fun! Break the ice with some humor. Ease the tension by lightening up the mood. Maybe tell a few jokes or play a game. If you are presenting in front of a crowd or even in a small conference room bring along your humor and some fun stuff too.

3. Know your purpose. Be clear on who you are and what you do. Your selling pitch or sales presentation should be clear, it should be impressive and convincing, it should be entertaining and it should make people want to take action.

4. Make it measurable. Your clients will love your comparisons when they see how your business can help them. What will change for them if they choose to do business with you? Provide them with measurable goals and paint a picture of the advantages.

5. Make it personal. When you include promotional products it makes the engagement personal because promo gifts are thoughtful. Choose items that you think your new audience will like and remember. Appreciation gifts do just that, they say thank you and leave an lasting impression.

Here is a funny video by speaker and comedian Darren LaCroix. He does improvisation and while you may not approach your unfamiliar audience quite like this; it’s a good laugh. It’s an example of how to make things fun and lighten the mood.

How do you attract an unfamiliar audience? Have you ever had to improvise in front of a new crowd? How do you make your presentation or sales pitch personal?

32 thoughts on “Ways to Attract an Unfamiliar Audience

  1. Being prepared and understanding what your audience cares about is very important. I’m nervous, but not terrified, speaking in front of a crowd. But I need to be prepared and feel very confident about my topic. I like the advice about being prepared for improvisation. Sometimes you may need to adjust your talk a bit on the fly. Talking off the cuff is not easy for me and thinking about possible questions and how I might respond helps. The humour bit is good advice, but I’ve also seen it fall flat on its face when it is too contrived or irrelevant. I think it is important to be genuine and show your real self.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Colorado River Story – Part 1My Profile

  2. Oh yes, this reminds me. I was asked to speak to a large group of women whom I didn’t know and who didn’t look too receptive when I was introduced. Luckily the women who did the introduction was wearing the identical dress that I was. So I took the mic and walked off the stage down into the audience saying, “Maybe if I stand in a different place nobody will notice that I’m wearing the same dress as Mary.” The group laughed and applauded and became a great audience.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…How to Get Your Content ReadMy Profile

    • Phoenicia- We all have those humorous moments in our lives that makes the audience feel that you are a regular person. Just giving the experience of what you wrote in your article about not being a morning person and what you had to do to prepare for the meeting the night before.
      Arleen recently posted…Ways to Attract an Unfamiliar AudienceMy Profile

  3. The video was hilarious! I love the approach when facing a new audience. I think it is so important to know WHO you are addressing…that is such a good point. One thing I used to always tell my salespeople, is that although they might not know everything, they surely knew more than the audience about the product:) I had never given thought to an appreciation gift, but I love the idea!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Hypocrisy… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Jacqui- With all presentations whether to an audience or one person putting a little humor or making it light in the discussion helps sale their product. Most of us can read about what someone is selling. Now making it interesting is another story that goes a long way. A thank you gift never hurt anyone
      Arleen recently posted…Ways to Attract an Unfamiliar AudienceMy Profile

  4. I have to do a talk next month that I am a bit nervous about. Thanks for the great tips. I especially like the one about bringing humor. I went to see a Neil Diamond concert last week and I barely knew his music. I left being so impressed by him because he was just so funny.
    Erica recently posted…8 Ways Coconut Oil Can Improve Your LifeMy Profile

  5. Arleen, when I was working I had to do a lot of public speaking and tell the truth, I hated it. The ONLY way I could manage was to be 100% prepared and know exactly what I was going to say. The big factor in my favour was that I was passionate about my organization and everyone always told me this came through. As far as humour goes, you need to be comfortable with it. The one and only time I added it I fell flat on my face.
    A loved the video – that lady was amazing the way her hands acted out his words.
    Loved this.
    Lenie recently posted…25 Unusual Ways With MILKMy Profile

  6. For years my job included a lot of public speaking, and on top of that I’ve always been an active participant in community projects so I’ve done a lot of presentations to service groups, etc. For me it’s all about connecting my audience visually. I am not one to tell jokes, but I do like to start off with a story of some kind. During those first few minutes I scan the audience looking for my anchor. This then becomes the person I am speaking to. I don’t just stare at them, but in my mind I am speaking to that person. This helps me to give my talk a more conversational feel.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…10 Simple Ways to Gradually Expand Your Comfort ZoneMy Profile

  7. I think the improvisation shown in the video was successful because the speaker seemed to genuinely enjoy the experince. The fear of public speaking can bring some people to their knees. I’ve worked with clients, who experienced such severe panic speaking to an audience that they quit their jobs. I agree with Donna’s comment about speakers being genuine. People connect with human flaws and vulnerability. Sometimes mentioning your fear or incorporating it into the opening of your speech can ease anxiety. By using humor to talk about your fear,
    ” I have to admit I’m a bit nervous because my four-year-old promised me a surprise when I get home,” gets your fear out on the table and engages the audience.

  8. I agree with Ken and therefore with you Arleen. It has always, well most of the time, been my problem in the sales arena…I have not found passion for the product of another company. Now when I am selling my own product then that’s a different story.
    Tim recently posted…Soweto’s Stark ContrastMy Profile

  9. Not to be a contrarian, but I’ve taught presentation training and I advise against telling jokes at the start of your presentation unless you are very, very comfortable in doing so. Leave that to the comedians. If your joke flops it will influence the rest of your presentation. If you’re not a practiced speaker you will lose your self-confidence. Just be yourself. Determine the key messages you want to communicate based on the needs of your audience. Then practice, practice, practice.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…What the Heck are Native Advertising and Branded Content?My Profile

  10. These are great tips. I think it is best to go in front of any audience as unfamiliar. In this way, you apply the proper techniques you describe to any speech or presentation. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  11. Eventually, I will start doing public speaking related to writing (especially memoirs) and the thought is terrifying. In the classroom it’s different because a teacher has an entire school year to develop a rapport and get comfortable with a particular group. Just addressing a audience of strangers is very anxiety inducing, though I agree humor can be the best way to reel people in.
    Jeri recently posted…#WritingPrompt: Loop WritingMy Profile

  12. Thanks for the heads up tips Arleen!

    Isn’t it amazing, how many people place fear of public speaking, no matter how little the actual size of the crowd is, above death!

    I really like all five of your extremely practical suggestions, especially #’s 1, 3 ,4 &5.
    They all make attracting an unfamiliar crowd, far more likely!
    Mark recently posted…Three Unique Locations Every Successful Entrepreneur Will Visit On Their Way To Success!My Profile

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