Public Speaking Course:
Get 'Em on Stage
We know that attention gaining devices are very important to master while
in your public speaking course. Here is one that works for me every time:
In almost every speaking presentation I do, I find some excuse to get
an audience member on stage with me.
When you get an audience member on stage with you
the rest of the audience is riveted to what's going on for the following
1. They want to see what is going to happen to one of their own.
2. They are priming themselves to be up there.
3. They are worrying to death that they may be asked to be up there.
Reasons 1 and 2 are good and reason 3 is not so good. For 1 and 2 the
thoughts of the observing audience member is that, "I want to watch
see what my colleague or other audience member will do when they are
No matter how exciting you are as a presenter, you cannot compete with
the excitement generated by someone who is on stage that is not
"supposed" to be on stage. During your public speaking course
you will learn how to generate this kind of excitement on stage and in the audience.
The other mindset is, "I BETTER watch what is going on in case
asked to go up there." This mindset is also good because it forces
audience member to actually think about the point you are trying to
make. You are focusing the audience on thinking about what you are saying.
For number 3, you want to keep shy or sensitive audience members from
withdrawing from your program altogether because of the fear you might
be asked to stand up in front of everyone. Remembering what you
learned in your public speaking course includes how to be sensitive to the
needs of all the members of your audience. This chance of audience withdrawal
is easily eliminated by the following statement.
"In a moment I'm going to ask for some / a volunteer to come on stage
with me. Don't worry. No one will have to come up if they don't want
If you have a high percentage of shy audience members, you will almost
feel the breeze as they breathe a sigh of relief. Make sure you say
before they turn blue and pass out.
Now lets take a look at what things you can do with them once their on stage. According to a study done at the University of
Wichita, public recognition is one of the top motivators of people.
you claim to be a "motivational" public speaker of some sort,
be a good idea for you to use your highly public profile while you are
speaking to give out some highly sought after public recognition. I find out the good things
that particular audience members have done during my extensive pre-program research.
Here are some ways to use the information you learn:
Recognize a single audience member for a particular achievement, or
a period of high performance.
Recognize a group of audience members for a particular achievement,
period of high performance.
While they are on-stage make a custom visual highlighting their
achievement, or performance (If you use an overhead you can give it
the audience member or team after you show it. Do not forget to include
your company name at the bottom of the visual. Many times these will
hung on the wall in the organization which will give you free
Another reason to get one or more audience members on stage is for some
sort of demonstration. I do one where I'm demonstrating personal space
across cultures. The person helping me gets a good laugh from the
audience as we interact.
Try to have pre planned ad libs ready to go for many of the comments
or questions you anticipate from the people on stage. You can also have
someone on stage to assist you in writing on the flip chart, changing
overheads, or to blow a horn when someone in the audience asks a good
question. Let your imagination free when planning your presentation.
Whenever, someone is up there to assist you, make sure you give them
some kind of prize. One of your products is usually good because it
gives you a chance to mention it without using a hard sell. And just
about always lead the audience in a round of applause for the helper
they return to their seat.