How do you impact, influence and inspire your audience?

Title, logo, audience

How do you impact, influence and inspire your audience?

Jerry Seinfeld (although I have also seen it attributed to Mark Twain 🤷🏼‍♀️) once said he’d rather be in the casket at the funeral than deliver the eulogy. 

It is true that many leaders and entrepreneurs find presenting uncomfortable. CEO of the mega-successful brand, Gymshark, Ben Francis has gone out of his way to learn the art of public speaking and become a better communicator. As his company became more successful, he was required to step in front of an audience and could see and feel how they mirrored his own awkwardness. He realised it was ‘selfish’ of him ‘not to take the time to get better at interaction.’

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He has and is now not only an impressive leader but also an influencer who has 250k YouTube subscribers and 335k followers on Instagram.

So, where do you start? How DO you influence, impact, and inspire an audience?

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How to influence an audience

Educate: Know your stuff. Be known as the expert, but don’t lecture. Balance facts with personal stories and give value. Be objective, provide relevant evidence and be strategic. 

Most importantly, know your audience. It’s not about you it’s about them. Why are they there? What do they want to take away from hearing you speak? What questions would you ask if you were them? To be an effective influencer take their perspective. 

Engage: Learn the art of public speaking. It’s not easy but it is simple. Use your voice! Fine-tune it. It’s produced by a set of muscles that need a regular workout; the intercostal muscles (in between your ribs), the diaphragm (attached to the bottom of the ribcage), the abdominals and the vocal cords. Use voice and breathing exercises to strengthen and support your voice so that it becomes an effective and engaging communication tool, a finely tuned instrument. Vocal variety and the use of pitch, tone, and pause will give you the ability to choose how to tell your story and share your message, with passion, emotion, or authority.

Entertain: Humour has its place even in the most serious and professional settings. It will put your audience at ease and help them warm to you. Tell stories, but not just the funny ones. Pick some tough ones too, from your own experience, the stories you’ve learnt from. Not to elicit sympathy but to build trust and validate others’ experiences. Again, balance the data with stories. Writer Maya Angelou said, ‘People won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.’

When preparing your talk, edit, edit, and edit again – less is more. Presentations are boring when they have too much content. Structure your presentation so that it has a journey. A strong beginning; start with a disturbing fact or a question. An effective middle; the ‘why’ and the ‘value’ and finish strongly, with a solid conclusion and a flourish, maybe. 


How to impact an audience?

Make sure you believe in your message and the impact it can have. If you believe it, your audience will too. It will resonate and you will create an audience that will know, like and trust you.

Start with a bold statement or disturbing fact. A provocative opening will ensure to grab attention, as will asking a question. It’s a powerful way of engaging your audience from the start.

According to American Psychologist, Dr Paul Ekman there are 5 basic human emotions, anger, fear, disgust, enjoyment, and sadness. In order to make the maximum impact with your talk, use an emotion relevant to your subject. And remember your impact as a speaker is more powerful if you know what your audience is there to hear. Find a commonality that the audience has with each other and with you as the speaker. When you identify with the audience you become one of them and it is harder for them to dislike you and easier for you to impact them. Especially useful when you are bringing them thought-provoking or controversial ideas for the first time. Use powerful body language and vocal variety to deliver with confidence and authority.

How to inspire an audience

Invite your audience to ‘Imagine’. Tell them how ‘it’ could be. Paint a picture of a bright new world so the audience can visualise it. Let your words become pictures, sounds and feelings. Ensure an interactive experience that will leave them ‘feeling’ something. Use emotion to tell a story. Give examples from your own and others’ life and work. 

Show your audience what is possible. Ask them ‘What are you capable of?’ Jim Harvey, MD of The Message Business says it’s the question every motivational speaker asks of their audience. He says, ‘It’s not difficult to inspire others, we just need to understand them, their dreams and the things that give them hope.’

Martin Luther King Jr

In Martin Luther King Jr’s inspirational and emotive ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, King invites the audience to ‘dream’ with him. He tells them how it could be. He leaves them inspired to follow their own dreams and gives them hope for a better way.

Use visuals. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ the old adage goes. An image can tell a story but also, evoke memory and emotion. A powerful image will convey meaning and /or a feeling more effectively than words. This is because vision is our dominant sense and so we respond to images intuitively and emotionally. 

So, whether you are on stage, on-camera or speaking in the Zoom room, writing a blog, or interacting with colleagues around the water cooler there is always the opportunity to influence, impact and inspire. But remember it’s always about them – your audience. As a presentation specialist and writer, Nancy Duarte says they are Luke Skywalker, and you are Yoda. May the force be with you.

For a more in-depth look at how to connect with your audience when speaking in public, download the free How To Impact, Influence and Inspire Your Audience PDF.

It will introduce you to the 3 Bs. Believe – Breathe – Be prepared.

3 simple but effective steps with information and exercises that will raise your confidence and prepare you for talking to your audience, be it for a sales call, a business presentation, or a keynote speech.

Why an actors training is good for you.

When you enter a rehearsal space as an actor the first thing you’ll do after the ‘getting to know you’ chat is a warm-up

The point of the warm-up is not just to get you physically warm, but its aim is to release the tension you’ve bought into the room from the outside world. You get to move, shake and make some noise. 

For the actor, the aim of the warm-up is to free themself from the stress and habits that make them, THEM, so that they can take on a different persona, i.e., a character. 

The benefit to you in the real world is similar. You get to energise yourself physically, but also shake off any negativity, stress, or tension that’s restricting your flow. You become flexible and open to taking on challenges, like facing an audience.

The warm-up is not just for the body but for the face and voice too. Both rely on muscles that like all other muscles need regular workouts. These exercises are crucial for an actor obviously but also crucial for you. 

There are 42 individual muscles in your face. Giving them a workout means you’ll be more expressive. You will look silly doing them, admittedly, but these exercises will bring your face alive.

Your voice, like your face is unique and an amazing tool produced and supported by yet more muscles. One of the most important is the diaphragm. When you breathe in this dome-shaped muscle attached to the bottom of your rib cage works together with your abdominals and the intercostal muscles (situated between your ribs) to move your rib cage up and out allowing as much air into your lungs as possible. When you breathe out the air from your lungs passes over the vocal cords (again, muscles) and they vibrate creating sound. Then your tongue, teeth and lips are all then engaged to make words. 

Your voice is your greatest tool. Once you learn how to use it effectively you can use it to engage, inspire, motivate, and soothe. Nurture it like an athlete would their body and you will be rewarded with a voice that has confidence, clarity, and authority.

Now the physical stuff is out of the way, you get to play. Yes, play. I know, we are adults, we don’t do that. But why not? It’s the best way to relieve stress, build connection and it sparks creativity. 

Dr Stuart Brown has researched the subject and found that ‘Play invites creativity and collaboration and can inspire you to think out of the box!’ He concludes that ‘Play is essential to develop social and adult problem-solving skills.’ It physically fires up the brain. (Watch his Ted Talk)

Playing ‘drama’ games in the rehearsal room is a group activity encouraging collaboration and building trust; essential when you are on stage in front of a live audience. But also, essential in every area of life. They help build relationships and connection. Plus, they demonstrate the joy and benefit of working with others. 

Another stalwart of the rehearsal room is Improvisation. ‘Argh’, I hear you cry, ‘please don’t make me do that?’ I don’t know how!’ 

But you do. You improvise every day. In every interaction you have in your life (unless you have a script!) you are improvising. Talking to the cashier – improvising, convincing your child that carrots really aren’t the devil’s food – improvising, asking someone politely to not park in front of your drive – improvising. See? 

Improvisation should always be positive and supportive. Think yes and… rather than no but…

Yes and… is a well-worn improv game. Try it. 

Imagine you are in a work situation, a brainstorming session or at home negotiating with the kids, see what happens to the atmosphere and outcome of that meeting if you start every sentence with no but… Negative and nowhere. Now try the same scenario and start your sentences with yes and… Completely different, right?

No, but … will dig you deeper into a hole of negativity and leave you stuck. 

Yes, and… will open your world to new possibilities and better connections.

After mucking about and making it up as you go along you get to the meat of the rehearsal room. The content. 

Usually a script, but invariably no matter what the format, a story that needs to be told. Here you look at the character’s motivation, desire, and reason for existing.

As an actor, part of the process of building a character involves looking at the subtext, to find what motivates them to do what they do? 

Their back story is where you fill in the gaps. You read between the writer’s lines for clues to the character’s past life. Where they were born, educated, family relationships, what experiences they had. Anything and everything that they went through brought them to this point in their life. 

Why is this important? Because it informs all their interactions within the story and with the other characters. It can explain their behaviour and of course the motivation for their actions. This story is what makes the character three dimensional, relatable, and authentic, i.e., believable.

Finding our own back story is important. It is what motivates your behaviours, your relationships at home and at work as well as how you cope with situations and challenges. Often looking back at the events that have shaped us, enables us to empathise with others and understand why they behave the way they do. 

Perhaps, your back story could motivate, validate and inspire those around you at work or in your social circle and in the process build trust, rapport and most importantly help you to show up authentically, raise your self-esteem and build your confidence. 

And then we get to perform. 

The performance, i.e., your talk, your job, your life, is the culmination of all these processes – warm-up, exercise, play, and character. When utilised properly they build confidence, resilience, empathy, and focus. They develop listening and storytelling skills, self-expression, and creativity. They make you more responsive, self-aware, engaging, relatable and inspiring. All attributes essential to being a great actor, speaker, teacher, finance director, software engineer, business coach, CEO, CMO, COO, nurse, manager, entrepreneur, PA, VA… You get it!

It is my mission to share this training with everyone I work with. It has benefitted me personally and professionally and I know it will benefit you too. 

If you’d like to find out more about an actor’s training or how I use it in my coaching contact me.

Brand Archetype – which one are you?

When it comes to defining a brand; finding its voice and personality, the 12 Jungian archetypes are a useful tool. 

As Daniel J. Moore of Iron Dragon Design, writes on his website:

‘Archetypes help align a brand’s vision, purpose and values. They create a voice for the brand to utilise in interactions, forming consistency in their branding and message. They also help by differentiating brands in the marketplace. This means that two companies can sell similar products but will attract different audiences based on their personality.

Brand personalities are great because they help to attract your tribe.’

So, what are Jungian archetypes?

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 Taking Responsibility Positions You In The Eyes Of Others

If people are going to buy from you, then you need to be accountable for your actions. A slick company video with seamless transitions and a well-rehearsed commentary may satisfy your shareholders, yourself and make competitors slightly jealous, but it’s just aesthetics. It won’t mean anything to the people that matter, namely your customers. They want to feel part of something, they want to belong to a community that shares their values. 

It is your responsibility to deliver with conviction, honesty, and relatability.

A Place Of Truth

I certainly want my clients to be accountable for their actions and take responsibility for their message, but it needs to come from a place of truth. We build trust by finding common themes that bring us together with our customers.

Whilst we all want to make money and we can, by finding the common denominator between us, our common traits bring people closer.

Commonality breeds relatability builds community and creates customers.

Creating the perfect-looking videos or hiding behind sales promotions will build unnecessary barriers between your personal brand and your customer. 

A personal brand, by the way, according to Mark Schaefer, author of Marketing Rebellion and Cumulative Advantage, ‘is simply what people think about you.’

Mark then points out that YOU are the point of differentiation. There is no one like you. No one with your experience, heritage, or insight. 

Continue Reading….

Delivering Your Voice Will Eat The Business Voice For Breakfast

In the business-to-business world, we must be slick, know more than the competition, be stoic, serious, sound like THE expert, right? We need to speak the language, know the acronyms. Do we, though?

Delivering and presenting ourselves in a way that steers clear of jargon and hierarchy is what is becoming the differentiator for so many people. 

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Presenting Ourselves Is Now A Business Approach

How we market ourselves and our products has changed.

We need to face our fears and insecurities and get comfortable being seen by the customer on screen and in the flesh.

Face And Embrace The Fear.

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Words: its not what you say but how you say it



1. a violent uprising against an authority or government.”the insurrection was savagely put down” Similar: rebellion, revolt, uprising, mutiny, revolution, insurgence. * late Middle English: via Old French from late Latin insurrectio(n- ), from insurgere ‘rise up’.

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Your voice is your greatest tool

The voice is an amazing instrument. It’s like a guitar. The larynx is the strings. Air, our breath, is the hitter. Our chest, throat and head are the body of the guitar, the resonator. We use our voice to produce wonderful sounds which entertain, engage, inspire and connect us to others.

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Where in the world are you?

Myself and fellow co-host, Trisha Lewis,  have been brainstorming  what it is to ‘brainstorm’ as well as to ‘network’ in order to get the content just right for our forthcoming MAKE IT REAL networking events (next one is 10 November). We’ve discussed prompts, themes, pain points and more excitingly – timings!!

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The power and benefit of sharing your story

I am a voice and presentation coach. I help people connect and communicate confidently.

A big part of that process is to help people understand their story and show them how they can use it to connect and engage an audience.

Continue Reading….
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