I was at the Arizona Chapter meeting of the National Speakers Association today with Naomi Rhode, CSP, CPAE and Glenna Salsbury, CSP, CPAE. I always learn something from these meetings, and today did not disappoint! Both of these pros shared some of their best questions they ask the participants as they mingle before the presentation begins.
Naomi often asks, “What has become crystal clear to you in the last year?” or “What are you happy about today?” Glenna asks, “What’s really important to you about the topic we are speaking on today?” or “What are you most excited about today?”
As an introvert, my personal favorite is an easier lob: “What brings you here today?” Chat with as many friendly faces as you can. Introduce yourself. Shake their hands. Thank them for coming. Get to know their names. You are not only establishing rapport with the audience, but you are also gathering information about them that you can incorporate into your presentation. Then, during your speech, you can refer to them by name and even repeat what they said. Just watch them puff up with pride when you mention their name!
Question: Do you mingle with the audience before your presentation? How do you start the conversation?