The changing world of public speaking

“These days, speakers everywhere are facing crowds apparently more interested in what’s going on in their own laps than in the talking head at a conference they forked out good money to hear,” said Russell Working in a recent post for ragan.com.

The advent of social media and portable Internet technology has given people access to (1) information that they want, when they want it, and (2) the ability to share their opinions about what’s going on in front of them in real time. Both of these realities have important implications for those speaking at meetings, conferences, and even those leading lectures in educational settings.

In his article, Working shares some insight for public speakers.

  1. “[Y]ou must adapt to the change with a sharper message,” Working said. In many cases, the audience is simply using social media to process what you are saying and relay the main takeaways of your speech.
  2. Speakers can embrace new media and encourage their audiences to pass along their content via social media. Some communicators caution that this can result in the audience missing some of your content as they type. They can also misinterpret what you are saying because they aren’t taking as much time to process your information before they post it.
  3. Research has shown that multitasking is counterproductive. At the same time, speakers must learn to succeed in this new reality. Speakers should “push themselves to become better storytellers.”

Be sure to check out the article for yourself, as Working also provides a list of “ways to make it work for you.”

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