No public speaker should ever forget this important fact!

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You have most likely heard that quote before, and it is true. If you are a speaker who wants to be a dynamic and exceptional communicator, then you need to start putting this into practice. Before you can “own the stage”, you have to “work the room”.

Most speakers take the stage at a disadvantage; our audience does not know us. The credibility we have is earned, not given. Unless you are a big-name speaker, or are addressing a crowd you have addressed before, you usually will not have the luxury of having your audience already know you, trust you and believe in you. Thus, taking them to place of decision and action is more challenging. So, if you are in that position (as most of us are), then you need to learn how to work the room before you take the stage. Here are some things to keep in mind as you learn to work the room:

1. Meet as many people as you can before you take the stage. Too many speakers use the stage to introduce themselves to their listeners. Of course there is nothing wrong with opening up and letting your audience know more about you, but this is a very important point you need to get: if you can get your audience to know who you are before you take the stage, you will be a step ahead of all the speakers who do not take the time. This is something far too many presenters overlook. Sure, as a speaker you’re busy, but you must make time for the people you have been hired to serve. Do your preparing before you arrive to your location. Don’t hide out in a room somewhere waiting to be introduced.

If you come across as friendly and personable on stage, but are a distant and reclusive off stage, people will question how much you really care about the needs of your audience, and it will be more difficult for you to “sell yourself” during your presentation. So introduce yourself to as many people as you can before you take the stage.

2. Learn to remember people’s names. There is nothing sweeter to our ears than our own name. When you can remember someone’s name, you validate that person, making them feel important. And can I tell you why this is so important? People who know how to make others very important are people who are always in demand because we are attracted to that kind of person. It’s called charisma. It is that thing within a person that makes other people want to be around them. Learn to remember the names of everyone you meet and you will find yourself much more popular and a lot more effective on stage.

3. Ask people questions about themselves…and actually listen to their answers. Those who have mastered the fine art of listening are typically thought of as great conversationalists, and very wise people. Have you ever noticed that? You can speak to someone, have hardly anything to say, but ask a lot of questions about them, and that person will walk away from the conversation thinking you are a lot deeper than you actually are. It’s strange, I know, but it’s true. Try it out sometime. Better yet, do it the next time you are to give a speech. The next time you are working the room, take time for people and really listen to them. You’ll be amazed how much it will help your presentation on stage.

Not only can you help your speech, you might just help someone else in the process. An unbelievable amount of people in our world struggle with loneliness, so taking the time to show affection and care for someone who is lonely can do wonders for them. Max Lucado wrote, “To the loved, a word of affection is a morsel, but to the love-starved, a word of affection can be a feast.” Make it your mission to give feasts.

4. Make yourself available AFTER the speech, as well. Although it may not help you during your presentation, it could help you get booked for other speaking engagements. When people (especially event planners) can tell that you care enough to “hang out” with the people, it makes a good impression on them, and makes you very likeable. There are hundreds of speakers that don’t make time for the people before or after the presentation. Be different. Show you care. Get to know people before and after. It will make a difference in your “repeat” and referral business.

5. Interact with your audience during the presentation. Sometimes being a platform speaker makes it difficult to personally interact with your audience. But when those opportunities present themselves, embrace them, because a speaker who can interact from the stage adds a dimension that many cannot copy. This is especially true if you have a good sense of humor and are quick on your feet. If you can make your audience laugh when they know it is not rehearsed, that is powerful, and you can really captivate a crowd. You’ll have them on the edge of their seat just waiting to see what you are going to say or do next.

If you really want to become an exceptional speaker and a dynamic communicator, you need to learn to connect with your audience before and after your speech, not just during. If you are going to own the stage, you must first learn how to work the room.

Author's Bio: 

Marc Adams is a professional speaker, and is the Speaker's Coach for INSPiRE Coaching. Marc has spoken to hundreds of groups all over the country. He is best known for using an enthusiastic blend of funny and inspiring stories that will captivate and motivate people from all walks of life. To book Marc to speak at your next event, or for more information on INSPiRE Coaching, contact us at 888-608-7476, or visit