Checking-In With Your Audience

A lingering question can be the ultimate Check-In.

20191014_145242Do you ever check-in with your audience during your presentation? Checking-In is critical because when you may not realize when some members of your audience are Checking-Out from you, your presentation or even the room without you even realizing. Some speakers Check-In with power statements, phrases, or quotes. Check-Ins have the power to awaken your audience. However, they should not be confused with salutation. They are not the same. Your first check-in should be placed within the first minute or two of your presentation, depending on the length of your speech. So what is a Check-In, and what does it achieve?

Think of it as a silent HELLO or a virtual handshake with your audience. Your Check-In can shift the focus from you, the presenter to them, the audience for just a moment. At that moment, you are inviting everyone present to get involved. Some audience members may feel the urge to answer your question silently. Others may recognize your quote as one to which they can relate. Audience members may also feel so inspired by the question you posed; they may think and rethink quietly, tell me more. Whether you choose a question, quote, phrase, or statement, we should always remember it’s the “pause and your pause look” following your Check-In that sends the message. The silence draws the focus back to you and your presentation.

Speakers often use statements, phrases, and questions as Check-Ins to their presentations; however, some speakers favor using quotes. Quotations are an easy and effective way to attract attention. Quotations should be short and relate directly to your speech topic. We all speak to be heard, understood, and repeated. Admittedly, it is quite pleasing to hear someone repeat what they heard you say in one of their presentations. Benjamin Disraeli, an eighteen-century British statesman and novelist, said it best with this quote of his: “Those who never quote are in return, never quoted.” The do’s and don’t of quotes are many. Here are a few.

The first rule of using quotes is don’t refer to any author with whom you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable quoting. The second, your quote should be instantly recognizable, relatable, and brief. And the third don’t -John Smith once said – Be creative when introducing your anecdotes and citations. Your Check-Ins at the end of a presentation can also make your closing memorable. Questions are most effective when left as your last words to linger. That silence after your applause can become the most critical moment in your speech. When you end with a lingering question, it can be the ultimate Check-In. If that question can inspire others to think, feel, or do something different in their lives, or the lives of others, you have hit your mark — Check-In early, Check-In during the body of your presentations, and Check-In at the end. Keep Checking-In, and audiences will never stop Checking -In with you.

Author: HenryOMiller

Henry joined Toastmasters in 1997. He is presently a member of 4 Toastmasters clubs; two in Santa Cruz and two in San Jose. He is a DTM-4. Henry is an executive speech coach, humorist, and speechwriter. He is also a musician and a lyricist​ whose speechwriting approach is similar to his approach to songwriting.

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