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September 2007 - When you’re not Preaching to the Choir: Part 2

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

September 2007

When you’re not Preaching to the Choir: Part 2

Last month I suggested five things to keep in mind when talking to “unfriendly” audiences—those whose view differs from yours.  Here are five more suggestions.

  1. Make certain you have your facts straight, for individuals in such audiences may be looking for you to misspeak or use erroneous information.
  2. If you do misspeak, don’t let it slide hoping no one will notice; correct yourself as soon as possible.  If someone points out an error in what you say, thank the person and promise to respond as soon as you can check it out; then do it.
  3. Whenever possible, show association with experts on the subject but don’t be a “namedropper.”  The objective is to let the audience know you have conferred with experts; it’s not to communicate your self-importance.
  4. Avoid anything that could be interpreted as negative behavior.  Especially avoid offensive language, “out-of-bounds” or questionable comments, stories or humor.  And make certain you do not make negative comments about beliefs, actions, institutions or persons for which the audience has high regard.
  5. Project an image of approachability; smile and come across as a likeable person with nothing to hide.  The image you project goes a long way toward getting people to listen to you and even to agree with what you say.

As with the suggestions I gave last month, these things are good to keep in mind either when you are preaching to the choir or you are not; that is, when the audience is friendly or is not.  But these suggestions are especially important for non-choir audiences.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

April 2007 - How to Win
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