How to Avoid Losing your Audience

Have you ever listened to a speaker and at some point started zoning out? You are not alone!  If you are the speaker, this is one of the things you want to AVOID– having your audience disengage, tune you out, or worse – just walk out!Do you struggle with How do you know which content to put in a message and which to leave out

We live in an age of information saturation! The content you give your audience needs to be valuable, but not overwhelming. One of the biggest struggles I hear over and over from emerging speakers is about putting together a message . Just this week again, someone asked me,

 “How do I take all the ideas in my head and put them into a message that is concise and compelling?”

His question reveals a common frustration so many speakers face. Perhaps you can relate to this struggle? Do you have a desire to share your experience or expertise with the world but don’t know how to pull it all together? Or maybe you just put it all in and don’t know where to stop. As a result, you end up running out of time when you speak! Sure, your audience may  walk away feeling full – but are they so full they can’t move?

Do you spend hours, days or even weeks re-writing the content, and then second-guessing right up until the time you step onto the stage? Maybe, you also struggle with having so much content that often talk faster, or go overtime just to get out all the information. I remember, so vividly, a time when I was asked to speak and my time was cut in half from 60 minutes to 30 minutes because the previous speaker went overtime. (By the way- you don’t want to go over your time!) Being a new speaker, I did what most speakers would have done in that situation. I glued my eyes to my notes, spoke as fast as I could, and looked up only when my time was up. When I finally came up (for air) and looked at my audience, I realized that although I was successful at  getting out all my information, I failed as a speaker. That day became a turning point for me, as I realized that speaking is not so much about giving information as it is about evoking transformation in the hearts and minds of your audience members. I knew that I  missed the mark that day because I failed to do the most important thing during my message – I failed to connect with my audience.

A sure way to lose any audience is giving so much information that your audience doesn’t have time to process or digest it. It was not until many years after that painful experience that I learned  that speaking is not about what the speaker has to give , but more about what the audience takes away!!

I wish I knew then what I know now. After much struggle and spending lots of money, I finally found a system that transformed the way I create messages and prepare for speaking engagements. As I worked with it and modified it, I felt like I hit the jackpot!  Having this system helps me determine which content to keep and which content to leave out of a message. It also helps me to easily adapt my message to any audience, any time frame and even with short notice.  Having such a system has significantly affected my speaking success and opened more opportunities than anything else.  I  wish I had this system when I first started public speaking.

Abraham Lincoln once said ” The best way to predict your future , is to create it.”  What do you need to do today to start creating the future you dream about?  What skills can you start developing today that will equip you to become a more dynamic speaker?


If you want to get a head start on your speaking success, and avoid losing your audience, check out the cheat sheet I created that outlines the 4 Biggest Mistakes that Emerging Speakers Make & How to Avoid Them.                                                                                                                                  

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Avoid the 4 Biggest Mistakes Women Speakers Make!

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Her Speech Changed History

One Speech that Changed the Future for Women and Children!Henrietta_Edwards


An article in the local newspaper caught my attention today, as it reminded us that today, April 16, marked 100 years since Alberta women were granted the right to vote. In her article, Paula Simon spoke about one specific lady and her speech. She wrote that “Henrietta Muir Edwards, a 58-year-old Baptist writer and mother,… travelled to Edmonton to address a major convention of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.” Simon went on to say that “Edwards’ speech was anything but temperate.” You can read Simon’s full article online at the Edmonton Journal.


Although I had read about Henrietta Muir Edwards before (and the other Famous Five women), I had never read her speech, so being curious, I looked it up. As I read Henrietta’s speech, I found myself trying to imagine what absolute courage it mFamous Fiveust have taken to go against the cultural norm  when she stood and delivered a message that challenged the prevailing mindset that women were not persons.

Of the  complete speech , this section was my favorite. I imagined her standing with confidence and speaking with clarity of purpose as she declared:

We do not ask for the vote because we are antagonistic to men-far from it-we do not want the vote in order that we may vote against the men, the men are our fathers, husbands and brothers, their best interests are ours. We want the vote that we may strengthen their hands in all that stands for right and justice. As Miss Willard has said, “The whole intention of the woman movement is not to declare the rights of women, or to usurp power, or to alienate men, but on the contrary-it is to unite men and women on the most enduring plan; to study the harmonies between them, to prove that their interests are indissolubly linked, and it is a far more scientific, sensible, and Christian way of dealing with one half of the human race, because it is equally in the interests of the two halves.”

Today I honor this woman, and the 100’s of others who stood with her, for the courage she displayed and the beliefs that motivated her.  Indeed, what she had to say WAS important, and needed to be heard. Some of the freedoms we enjoy today is because Henrietta Muir Edwards  chose to push through the fears, and speak with confidence and clarity,  transforming the cultural mindsets of her day.

I can’t help but wonder, how many other people have messages buried deep inside of them, just waiting for the right time – that when finally spoken out loud has the potential  to impact generations?

What about if one of your not-yet-written messages is one of those?

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Lisa Vanderkwaak MSc.
Speaker-Author-World Class Certified Speaking Coach
Lisa is has a unique ability to  equip leaders to stand with confidence and speak with clarity and make a transformational impact.
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How to Lose your Audience

4 Biggest Mistakes Women Speakers Make and How to Avoid Them!