The main objective of every speaker is to call listeners for action, deliver a memorable and vivid speech that will force attendees to do something you want. Nevertheless, just a few people are able to spoil the whole impression. No, it’s not so prominent but still, an overall impression and your reputation can be ruined just because of a few skeptical listeners. We suggest considering a tool that will help make attendees more responsive and better manipulate your listeners. If you want to succeed and be sure that a few listeners won’t turn all your effort in vain, choose the 20/60/20 rule and make sure that your call will be heard.
What is the essence of the 20/60/20 rule and why do you need it in your work?
Each audience comprises different types of individuals. There are people who come because they are forced to come; there are people who want to visit your speech because they are fond of you and your presentations/seminars; there are people who attend meetings and seminars as a campaign. Taking into account this information, three types of attendees were distinguished. This notion was called the 20/60/20 rule. According to this rule, an audience is divided into three main groups:
- 20% of attendees will find your speech/offer positive and will be glad to accept it;
- 60% of listeners will keep a neutral reaction and won’t demonstrate any prominent attitude;
- 20% of visitors will treat your offer/speech negatively.
Being aware of this rule, you’ll be able to better control your audience and manipulate their attitude towards you and your speech. The rule will be useful not only for speech delivering but also for a wide range of relationships within organizations or businesses.
As a result of this technique, be sure that you’ll yield better results and won’t ruin your reputation even if there are skeptically-oriented listeners at your seminar.
Effective methods to reach your listeners using the 20/60/20 rule
Remember that 20% of an audience is your supporters
As you start your speech, do not forget that 20% of attendees are simply those people who support your idea, find your offer interesting, and have similar points of view on particular problems. This segment of an audience is your strength. You should make these people your supporters and use them to distribute your thoughts and ideas to the other 60% of those “neutral” listeners.
You should know how to involve them in your presentation and make show their interest. If you manage to do this, these people will help you to convince the rest of an audience of a certain idea.
Understand the “middle” group
If you’re a skilled speaker, you know that the majority of attendees at seminars and conferences are new people that are not aware of your topic. They tend to change their points of view and be uncertain. It’s obvious as they get too much new information during a speech. They need time to make up their own mind and stick to a certain point of view. Usually, the proportion of such listeners is equal to 60%.
An experienced speaker can find out the general attitude of an audience towards a presentation by using a poll or a short questionnaire in the middle of a presentation. This technique will help understand whether it is possible to manage an audience’s behavior and mind.
But here, it is a tricky point. Remember that you can get either positive or negative results. For example, on one hand, if the majority of this 60% group is positive towards you and your topic, then you can gain incredible success and ensure the expected feedback. But on the other hand, if the majority of this segment is negative, then it can influence the rest of an audience and ruin your presentation.
Make sure that a negative group is not more than 20% of the whole audience
Every audience comprises listeners who are positive, neutral, or negative to your presentation. It is obvious. There is no speaker who has managed to influence the whole audience and made them be positive towards a presenter. Thus, every speaker should take for granted that among attendees there are those who will not agree with a presenter. It is necessary to cope with this fact and learn how to control this group.
It is important to know who to work with this segment of an audience as these are exactly people who can influence those “middle” listeners who are uncertain. Every speaker should beware of this 20% segment.
How to interact with them? Let’s see an example. When it comes to the time to answer listeners’ questions, do not pay too much attention to their questions. But at the same time, you should not ignore them. It is necessary to answer several questions. Remember that every question can cause you to confuse that directly influences an audience’s attitude. Thus, be ready to answer the most trick question and ask more questions of those “positive” listeners. When dealing with attendees’ questions, remember that those ones of “positive” people will help endear that 60% of uncertain listeners, while the questions of “skeptic” or “negative” listeners will scare them away.
One more point is that every time you answer a question of a “negative” listener, you should find common points of contact, try to please them. It is important to demonstrate that you have heard those “negative” 20% and react to their thoughts.
How a presenter can avoid pitfalls?
There are pitfalls in every presentation and topic. A skilled speaker should know how to avoid them. In addition, he/she should be able to express his/her opinion staying objective and emotionless.
- Leave your emotions and bias behind the door. Remember that a presenter should be objective and explain a topic as it is. An experienced speaker will keep his/her emotions and bias to him-/herself. Do not forget that every person has his/her own opinion and it’s right. There are different points of view and that is life. Your task is to listen to these opinions and accept them. You may agree or disagree, but in no case, you can offend listeners or show your disrespect to them just because they have a different opinion. Sometimes it can be difficult to stay unbiased, but this is the feature that distinguishes a skilled speaker from a beginning presenter. You should not impose your point of view.
- Listen to attendees, understand and accept their point of view. Let’s consider this point on an example. Imagine that you’re talking about a factory that pollutes the environment and your objective is to close it. In this case, workers from this factory can be present among listeners. They will disagree with you as for them, it is the only way to survive. Thus, an experienced presenter should accept and understand his/her point of view and speak about some alternative ways of managing the problem. A speaker should be ready that dome listeners can be too emotional. Thus, it is necessary to be able to stand in the shoes of your opponent.
- Find the golden middle and avoid disputes. It is not recommended to open disputes. Even if you’re too emotional or your opponent tries to start a hot discussion of a problem, try to keep calm and restrained. Otherwise, it may lead to the situation when your “middle” 60% group sticks to the side of your opponent – a “negative” 20% segment. If you see that a “skeptic” listener wants to discuss a certain issue with you, try to find the golden middle and please him/her. Your main task is to find a compromise and convince your opponent that you understand him/his. This can not only calm down your opponent but also help endear the rest of an audience.
- Never impose your thoughts. When dealing with a “negative” group of listeners, do not try to impose your opinion. It is the worst thing you can do. It is the right way to ruin your presentation and spoil the whole impression. In this case, you can lose that 60% of uncertain attendees. If you start imposing your point of view, listeners will immediately get this information and distribute it to others. As a result, your reputation will be ruined and all effort will be in vain.
- Make your audience think. How often do you use “What if…” questions in your presentations? Do you realize their importance? It is a win-win option in any case. If someone asks you a tricky question, ask him in response “What if…” and he/she will start thinking. You’ll have time to think about the answer to his/her question. In addition, it doesn’t matter who you are and what actually your speech is about. You can be a student, a businessman, a manager, or a financial consultant. In any case, it is most likely that your presentation will be about a better future. You’re likely to speak about possible ways to improve production/life/conditions/etc. Therefore, such a question as “What if…” will be appropriate and will encourage your listeners to switch on their brains and start thinking about a problem.
- Try to endear listeners and win their hearts. Do you know how to win the hearts of listeners? Charisma is what determines your success. Make them laugh, smile, and keep cheerful. If you manage to raise their mood, be sure that they won’t be able to hate or dislike you. Even if your speech is not perfect, attendees will remember your cheerful presentation.
How to find the common ground and points of interest? This step requires a preparatory process. It is necessary to study your audience, analyze their habits and preferences. If your audience has distinctive cultural characteristics, choose them to complement attendees and get in touch with them. If you show your interest in their culture or tastes, this will lead to endearing them.
This small story can not be connected to a topic under consideration. It can be a fun story that will help make contact with listeners. You can say a few words about a football match, sport, a TV show or art. The main thing is to choose the topic that bothers the majority of attendees.
One more way to establish contact is to speak about folklore or legends. If you deal with listeners that belong to particular communities, religions, or cultures, this option can suit better.
If your audience consists of businessmen and managers, it is appropriate to talk about financial growth, current news, or related jokes.
Thus, as you see the ways to draw attendees’ attention and win their hearts depend on the type of audience. If you find common points of interest, then be sure that they will leave your presentation with burning eyes, and your efforts won’t be in vain.
Use unexpected statements. Duplicate thoughts make attendees get bored. People who tell the same stories, politicians who use the same arguments, cause a desire to be distracted by something else.
To be perceived with interest, leave time for secrets. Change the chronology of the story, make listeners wonder what will happen next. Start from afar, draw unusual parallels, pretend that you are leading to one denouement, and abruptly turn to the other.
When rereading your speech, find out for yourself what exactly listeners will be waiting for at each moment – and destroy these expectations.
It is a useful technique that will help shake listeners and make them get interested. Especially, if your speech lasts for a long time.
7. Take control into your own hands right away. The way you appear plays a significant role. When going on stage for a performance, you become a leader. Attendees in a hall want you to control the course of events. They want you to take control of the room. Act as if the premises belong to you and all those listeners are working for you. They will carry out your commands. After you are officially introduced, immediately go where you are going to speak. Walk with your shoulders straight, with a smile on your face, with your eyes wide open and your mouth closed. Move briskly, confidently, energetically, and decisively. Hen starting to talk, focus on the one and only person in an audience, as if you were having a warm and relaxed conversation alone. And then smoothly look at another listener, then at one and another. Such direct eye contact will “slow down” you, help calm your nerves and establish contact with people sitting in the hall. An “eye contact” is an important element of speech delivering. It helps endear listeners and show you a frank attitude.
8. Be sincere and humble. The best way to please an audience is to be yourself and speak sincerely and modestly. To show your sincerity, act openly and be yourself. You can show that you are a little confused and excited by such close attention and interest from the audience. Smile warmly and broadly and look around the room. Do not be afraid of being modest. This feature is welcomed by attendees. Do not be afraid of saying “Thank you”.
One more way to start your introduction and get in touch with listeners is to tell something about yourself. It can be a funny story from your life or something else. In addition, our story can encourage someone to strive to some goals, as well as show that you’re just an ordinary person as everyone sitting in front of you.
Remember that you should be patient, open-hearted, cheerful, respectful, and focused on your presentation to create the right impression and succeed in speech delivering. Try to find the golden middle so that to be persuasive but not impose your opinion. You should be honest with our audience but control their feelings and attitude. It is a real art to be a skilled speaker who knows how to win an audience.
If you know how to show your best side and endear listeners, just keep in mind these tips and the 20/60/20 rule and your speech will hit the target. Do not forget that a successful speaker is the one who managed to tame negative listeners, persuade uncertain attendees, and keep positive ones. It is not possible to be loved by everyone, but the task of every speaker is to choose the right way to find points of contact with every listener.