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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Engage the Audience

The key word to remember is engagement—getting the audience to look, listen, and respond. But how do you engage an audience? By appealing to its intelligences. All of us have more than one type of intelligence. According to psychologist and author Howard Gardner, we have at least seven, covering mind, body, and spirit. All too often, presentations appeal only to the intellect, ignoring our physical, emotional, and spiritual sides.[2]

Good leadership communicators strive to reach both the head and the heart. They want to pitch ideas to the mind, where we figure things out with logic and reason. But they also work to reach the heart, our emotional side, where decisions are made. Leaders need to make a strong emotional case for a vision statement; they need their followers to see, touch, and feel what the future will be like once the vision becomes reality.

Leaders can borrow lessons from salespeople. Salespeople are practiced masters at knowing how to close when the customer is excited and emotionally involved. Leaders can capture the same kind of engagement as they seek to sell their message. Effective presenters must connect with the audience in at least one and often more of the following ways.

How can you develop your presentation so that you do this? You are limited only by the range of your imagination. Here are some ways to get the audience to focus its attention on you and your leadership message.

[2]Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

[3]Pat Williams with Michael Weinreb, Marketing Your Dreams: Business and Life Lessons from Bill Veeck, Baseball's Marketing Genius, p. 173.


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