Why Meeting the Audience Before a Speech is a Good Idea
Exactly how you do this depends on the situation. In some events there might be a mingle, a breakfast or a lunch before you speak, and this is a great opportunity to meet some of the people in the audience. All you need to do is to introduce yourself and mention that you are one of the speakers, perhaps explaining very briefly what you will talk about. You might be asked one or two questions at this point, which is a very good sign.
Why you should do this is very interesting, because it works on at least three different levels. First of all, by meeting some people in the audience at least those people will be more open to listening to what you say. It is a natural human reaction to be wary of strangers, so when a new speaker walks on stage the first reaction is to focus on who they are rather than what they say. When the speaker is familiar this doesn't happen. Secondly, those people you have spoken to will show some sign of recognition when you start to speak. They might smile and nod, and this is very encouraging for a speaker plus it will make the mood of the audience more positive. Thirdly, those people who you talked to are less likely to skip your talk if they have a personal connection with you.
Even talking to just a tiny fraction of the audience will have a positive effect. When there are hundreds of people in the room it is impractical to talk to all of them, but anyone can talk to at least a few in the break before you speak. Add to that the people you met at breakfast and a few others who saw your social media posts and you have enough friends in the crowd to feel more at home.
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