Save the Cat!
Watch any major blockbuster movie & you'll notice a little trick used by screen writers. The protagonist will do something that's, well, just plain nice. A professor might say "thanks" to an intern. A Dad might hug his son. A teacher might compliment her student. The act is often so subtle that it doesn't register consciously, but it sure does subconsciously! This is the "save the cat" moment. It gets us, the audience, rooting for the hero. It often happens in the first few minutes of a movie. It's a pretty ingenious technique, one that I learned from the amazing book, Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder.
Be nice when you first take the stage. Project the image of someone who's grateful to be there, respectful of the audience, and humble about your abilities (however superhero like). So ...
If the last speaker was great, start by complimenting her. One thing I often do is tell the audience to interrupt me at any time. "This is YOUR session," I assure them. "I want to make our time together as helpful as possible." In some 10 years of public speaking, I've never once been interrupted by a question.
On the flip side, if things go wrong, don't overreact. For example, if your slides are dorked up, don't belittle the poor IT guy. (Truth be told, visual aids that don't work are your fault ... You should have checked 'em earlier.) Keep calm, poised, and polite.
The bottom line is this. Don't pander to any audience. Ever. Instead, just remember what your Mama taught you. Play nice. If you keep it simple and subtle, you'll save the cat.
Want to learn more "tips and tricks" of great speakers? Please click here & scroll down to subscribe. Thanks! -- Rose