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« Thinking about Stripe Generator | Main | Weekend reading »

How to be a great audience

(and what's in it for you...)

I participated in an interesting experiment today. I was lucky enough to attend career day with 75 eighth graders. Divided into five groups, I got to see a group at a time for about fifteen minutes each.

Within three seconds of beginning my talk, I could tell.

I could tell who had learned the skill of being in the audience and who hadn't. And I'm worried that it might be permanent.

The good audiences were all the same. They leaned forward. They made eye contact. They mirrored my energy right back to me. When the talk (five minutes) was over they were filled with questions.

The audience members that hadn't learned the skill were all different. Some made no eye contact. Some found distractions to keep them busy. Some were focused on filling out the form that proved that they had been paying attention.

What I discovered: that the good audience members got most of my attention. The great audience members got even more... attention plus extra effort. And, despite my best efforts, the non-great audience members just sort of fell off the radar.

This isn't a post about me and my talk. It's about the audience members and the choices each make. It's a choice your employees and your customers make too.

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that information is just delivered to you. That rock stars and violinists and speakers and preachers and teachers and tour guides get paid to perform and the product is the product. But it's not true. Great audiences get more.

Great audiences not only get more energy and more insight and more focused answers to their questions, they also get better jobs and find better relationships. Because the skills and the attitude are exactly the same.

I am too much of an optimist to believe that the lousy audience members in today's program are stuck that way for life. But I know that the longer they wait, the harder it is going to be to change.

The next time someone says, "any questions," ask one. Just ask.

The next time you see a play that is truly outstanding, lead the standing ovation at the end.

The next time you have an itch to send an email to a political blogger or post a comment or do a trackback, do it. Make it a habit.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How to be a great audience:

» Seth Godin y unafrase from Ponte la peluka
Es fácil caer en la trampa de creer que la información simplemente te llega. Que los rockstars y violinistas y conferencistas y predicadores y maestros y guías de turismo cobran por su labor y eso es todo. Pero no es cierto. Mej... [Read More]

» Don’t blame the audience from ThinkingSparks
Seth Godin wrote in interesting post on being a great audience. I wonder why it should be a goal to be a great audience. The goal should be to learn something and through listening and interaction you may learn more. [Read More]

» Listen, Even if the Yelling Hurts Your Ears from The Marketing Fresh Peel
Seth Godin unknowingly has written a great follow up to my recent post titled, A Love For Complainers. He points out the importance of listening, and how in return listeners receive notice and acknowledgment from the person speaking. This is another gr... [Read More]

» From the Aphorism Factory #4 from MisEntropy
Input : How to be a great audience Output : The speaker is an audience of one who goes to watch a few hundred people perform. [Read More]

» Featured Post: How to be a Good Audience from Theatreforte
I'm not sure Seth (bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change) intended this to reach a theatre-going/theatre-making audience or not, but maybe it will. Here's a nice excerpt.What I discovered: that the good audience members got most of my at... [Read More]

» Being present, vs. being attentive. from It's About Making Babies!
Seth Godin wrote How to be a great audience today. What I got from the post, was to pay attention. The more energy you put into hearing and understanding the speaker, the more you are likely to benefit from the experience and the more you ... [Read More]

» How To Be a GreatAudience from Mr. Pullen's Blog: Thoughts on Elementary Education
This post is a quote from Seth Godin that I think sums up how to be a good learner: (its from this site.) Well worth the read. How to be a great audience I participated in an interesting experiment today. I was lucky enough to attend career day ... [Read More]

» This week in PublicSpeaking from Art of Speaking
ABCDE of Public Speaking Harvard professor Dale Deletis approach to overcome the fight or flight syndrome of public speaking: Click here to read the article. I found this on Lisa Braithwaite’s site. She has added the letter E ... [Read More]

» Five Ways To Snap Your Audience Members Awake If They're Dozing Off from Public Speaking Sucker
1. Make your audience interact with one another. Ask them to turn to the person next to them and get their opinion on an important issue relevant to your presentation. Give them two minutes to share their thoughts with one [Read More]

» Как стать замечательной аудиторией (и что вам с этого…) from Как продать
Отличная аудитория получает больше. Отличная аудитория не только получает больше энергии и больше понимания и более точные ответы на сво... [Read More]

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