How To Avoid Annoying Your Audience

When you speak, does your audience fall asleep? Avoid eye contact? Pick up their pens and start doodling? Gaze off out the window. Tap their feet in anticipation of your finishing up your speech? If so, you might be an audience annoyer!

An audience annoyer is one of those people who gets up in front of an audience and talks and talks and talks. Usually they speak about a subject that is of no interest to the audience. They often try to engage the audience with a question, only to find the audience is not paying attention.

Or, sometimes an annoyer is someone who works really hard at trying to speak so eloquently that they completely lose the message that they are trying to convey—if in fact they have a message at all.

Often, audience annoyers are users. They just want to use the audience like a dog uses a human leg. They just want you to lie there while they go about their business. “Oh, don’t mind him. It’s best if we just let him go on until he finishes.”

Or they use the audience as a forum, a place where they can prove their lingual brilliance, a place to show off their large and varied vocabulary.

No matter the description, audience annoyers are annoying to an audience. They do not accomplish their goal, no matter what their aim. They forget the maxim: IT'S ABOUT THE MESSAGE FOR THE AUDIENCE! IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU!

For those people who in fact do not just want to use the audience as a sounding board--or as a leg to hump—then this article is for you. It’s for you, because you probably have a general wish to communicate, to share your wisdom and knowledge with the audiences you address. So, how then do you avoid annoying your audience?


Stop using us!

Stop trying to impress us.

If you are using a word that has more than two syllables, cut it out.

If you are speaking a sentence or a question that has more than 10 words, cut it out.

If you are speaking in any tense other than the simple future, simple past, or simple present, stop!

Keep things simple.

Learn the simple.

Cut your main message down to 5 words. (No more than 8).

Now, just for an experiment, take a moment. Count a few of the sentences in this essay. How many words per sentence are there? You will probably find most have less than 10. So should yours. Go, and do like wise!

The days of long arduous prose-like verbiage are over. Abe Lincoln & Dan Webster are dead. They are not coming back anytime soon. So get with the times! Speak simply and clearly. Use simple baby words like most of the ones in this essay.

Have a clear point. If it's not clear to you and at least three other people, then for the audiences sake do not step on that stage. Because without a clear, simply stated message, you’ll be recommitting the ugly sin of humping our leg and expecting us to sit there and wait until you are finished. We hate having our leg humped!

Intercourse should be mutual. It should be collaboration between two people--in this case speaker and audience. It should never be one-way masturbation.

If you need help clarifying, simplifying your message, then do yourself a favor and ask someone for help. If that person doesn’t help, then ask another person.

Buy books on how to write a speech central idea, or theme.

Again, get simple.

Go back to baby school and learn the basics. There is nothing humiliating about humbling yourself to learn the baby basics that you might not have learned the first time around. There is no shame in that at all.

The only shame is the shame of watching as your audiences eyes glaze over the moment you take the stage.

The only shame is seeing them pull out their pillows and blankets right when you start to speak.

The only shame is seeing half the people room start staring at their toes, a quarter of the room staring at the roof, five people doodling in a notebook, and the final three getting up to go to the bathroom as soon as you expose your first point.

So, bottom line: Avoid shame. Do my tips. Or....go here.

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