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QuickBites: How to Connect with Your Audience Before Walking on Stage

How long do you have to establish a connection with your audience? Is it 3 minutes? 1 minute? 30 seconds? How about 15 seconds? Or 3 seconds?


I side with those who say 3 seconds. Now, you might be thinking, “How can I possibly connect with an audience in 3 seconds?” It sounds nearly impossible, doesn’t it? Well, you’re right. It is nearly impossible. Therefore, you want to connect with your listeners before you walk out on stage.


How? Through your introduction. Think about it, when you’re asked to speak, you’re often asked to provide a bio. And, if you’re like most of us, you do. However, I’m suggesting that you don’t. Instead, provide an introduction.


But aren’t they the same thing? No!


When the person presents you to the audience by reading your bio, they are, for the most part, listing your accomplishments, and although this may lend itself to establishing your credibility, it usually does not inform the audience how your accomplishments benefit them.


An introduction, on the other hand, acknowledges those accomplishments that relate to your subject matter. In essence, your bio is about you, while your introduction is about your audience and what it’s going to glean from your experience and expertise.


Listen to the difference between them. First, the bio.


Our speaker today is Christina Smith. After getting her undergrad at USC and her masters at King’s College in London, Christina began her career at Google, where she quickly rose through the ranks of the finance department. During her time with the company, she worked in Google’s offices in the U.S, France, and Japan. Nine years later, Christina left to start her own consulting firm, Christina Smith and Associates, which has been recognized as one of the fastest growing financial consulting firms in the country. Christina has presented more than 200 times in several countries, and in her spare time, she runs several marathons a year, is a huge football fan, and enjoys spending time with her husband Jack, daughter Clarice, son William, and Hannibal the dog. Sit back and enjoy our keynote speaker, Christina Smith.


Now the introduction.


Today you will learn how you can use public speaking to grow your financial consulting practice, much like our next speaker, Christina Smith, has with her own company, Christina Smith and Associates.


Christina’s firm has been recognized as one of the fastest growing financial consulting firms in the country, and she credits that grow to public speaking, specifically to speaking more than 200 to groups consisting of her target audiences.


Christina points out that connecting with your audiences is essential, a talent she unknowingly developed when building new relationships in numerous countries while in school and later while working at Google.


An avid runner, Christina finds the time to prepare for each presentation while training for the several marathons she competes in each year. How does she find the time? You’ll be learning that, too.


And while she continues to diligently work on her skills as a speaker, Christina admits that, on occasion, communicating with her husband, two children, and dog can be a bit challenging.


Ladies and gentlemen, lean in and learn how you can build your business through public speaking. Please welcome Christina Smith.


Hear the difference?


The introduction is not merely a list of accomplishments. And those that relate to Christina’s talk are delivered as a small presentation in itself.


Is the introduction lacking because it doesn’t specifically mention USC, King’s College, the U.S., France, or Japan? Do the names of her husband, kids, and dog really matter? I don’t believe they do.


So, the next time you’re asked for a bio, send an introduction instead. And if you really want to take it to the next level, connect with the person who will be introducing you, impress upon them how important your introduction is to the audience’s experience, and coach them up.