Relational Presence applied to public speaking.
Seeing your audience can sometimes be overwhelming. Audiences have blank faces a lot of the time.
Audiences listen passively. They don’t nod very often, they don’t smile very often. So when we are speakers we get confused because we are SO used to having a normal conversation where we get lots of approval signals (smiles, nods, little vocal sounds, facial signs and body matching).
We often don’t understand this when we speak publicly and it feels like we are failing if we are not used to it. When you step in front of an audience you will step into the land of non-approval (or so it seems). So it’s not surprising that you might get feelings of judgement, or that the audience is bored, or you are not getting through to them. We need to make a mental shift towards accepting blank faces.
By Blank we mean bored looking, frowny looking, angry looking, yawning, looking up at the ceiling and the floor and even eyes closed. This is just how audiences listen. These are just listening faces. Next time you are in the audience take a look around you and see what other people in the audience look like.
You’ll have a far better time when you shift from seeing judgement to seeing normal audience listening. That’s why we really want you to love blank faces!