While many public speakers ideally want to speak to the masses and are looking for large audiences with which to market their knowledge, their opinions, or their products, there are definite rewards in addressing small groups.
And while your format will be the same, your delivery will be slightly different because with a small group, you have the ability to become much more personal with your listeners, even to the point of learning their names. When you can address their needs and refer to them by name, you are establishing a rapport that is near to impossible with a large audience.
Some years ago when I was still living in Canada, I had planned a presentation in another town about 100 kilometers away. I was anticipating around 75 people to attend because they had called in to register. While the weather station had predicted a light snow, I was not concerned about the forecast because people in Southwestern Ontario deal with weather.
What had been predicted as a couple of inches of snow, however, turned into a full-blown blizzard as I was driving to the hotel and it kept all but 9 people from attending. I was more than grateful that those 9 had braved the elements room, however, and approached my ‘audience’ just as if all those empty chairs were filled.
Because the group size was limited, my audience and I were able to be much more personal with each other. Occasionally, they interrupted me to ask questions or make comments during the presentation. This is common; this is normal; and, this is actually very beneficial. To be able to communicate on a more personal level with a smaller group has its advantages. Because my presentation allowed for some discussion, 7 of the 9 participants enrolled in a weekend workshop I was planning in voice and presentation skills.
While I did not have 75 people to whom to ‘market’ my upcoming workshop, holding the presentation for 9 people was very profitable. By the time, I ran the workshop 3 weeks later, I had filled the class with 12 participants which is the maximum number for my 2-day workshops.
There is a very good chance that I would have filled the workshop had all 75 people attended but the odds of selling to the majority of attendees was not likely. What sold 7 of the 9 who attended was the more personal nature of the presentation.
If you have been scheduled to speak to a group of people and the number of attendees is much less than anticipated or promised, look at the bright side of the picture. When you get ‘up close and personal’ with your listeners, you will be amazed by the results.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and discover the best means to sounding more mature.