Why doesn’t everyone like me?

Watching President Obama get grilled at a town hall meeting recently reminded me about audiences and the desire each of us has to be liked.  Just as with the president or any public figure for that matter, we all want our audiences to like us.

The problem is that listening is subjective.  Each person in your audience brings with them their own background and perspective. and in so doing, sees and hears with their own eyes and ears .   And for this reason, it’s hard to please everyone all of the time.

People can be quirky.  Perhaps someone doesn’t like the way your hair looks, or the way you’re dressed, or even your style.  Or one person hears something you say and another interprets it in another way.

Be confident in your content and your delivery, do the best job you can.  Then know that most everyone in your audience will respond positively.  And for those who don’t, it could be more about them than about you.

For more insights into speaking and communicating effectively, visit www.publicspeaking4u.com.

Q and A Sessions: from danger to safety

Current town hall meetings on health reform have become hornet’s nests for politicians. For public speakers, they illustrate the opportunities and pitfalls of handling Question & Answer sessions. If your content is controversial, you may want to think about how to handle the Q & A format in advance.

Here are my rankings of safest and most dangerous approaches for the speaker.

• Take questions directly from audience – most dangerous
• Give questioners numbers and call each by number – middle ground
• Have audience submit questions in writing in advance and read questions — safest