Want to connect with your audience? Stand out then fit in

Motivational speaker Marilyn Sherman loves to connect with her audiencesI just got back from one of my favorite conferences of the year.  It's a conference of professional women – around 2600 of them, and it's non-stop fun for me as a motivational speaker.  First off, let me say how grateful I am that this was the 9th year in a row that I've presented to this group.  So, just for that reason, it's one of my favorite conferences.  Now, people ask me why they keep inviting me back. I hope it's because I offer value presented in a way that connects with my audience.  Then, I began to wonder what I do with this conference that maybe I could duplicate with other audiences as well.  The feedback I kept getting from board members and long term attendees was how well I connected with my audience.  I thought about it and wanted to share the things I did and maybe you could do too.

1. Show up early

If it's at all possible, I attend the whole conference so I can hear what's going on and use some of the insights in my presenation.  Some people even commented that the quotes from the main stage were put into my powerpoint as a way to tie in what they heard from the keynote into my breakout session.

2. Set the tone

When people come to my session, they know they are in for a treat.  I have jammin music playing and I'm walking around shaking hands and thanking them for coming to my session. I know some speakers just wait back stage or wait for the introducer to introduce them, but not me.  I tell the introducer that I'm meeting my peeps so don't wait for me to start the intro.  When it's time, I'll get back to the front- but I want to greet as many people as possible.

3. Thank them

There is usually waiting list to get into my session so I go out and thank them for their patience and re-assure them that we're doing everything possible to get them into the room.

4. Participate!

I know this isn't possible for all events, but I like to attend a participate in as many events as possible.  Even though my session wasn't until 4:00 pm,  I was presentation ready by 8am to see the opening general session.  This works for me on so many levels – re-connecting with past attendees, getting to know new board members, solidifying relationships, while hearing what everyone else is hearing from main-stage speakers.  This paid off in a more direct way this past week.  A senior vice president of a company greeted me with 'I want to buy you!'.  Confused and flattered at the same time, I had to ask what he meant.  He was having a reception with all of his employees that were attending the conference and he wanted to buy my coaching services and give it away to one lucky winner at this reception!  Brilliant idea!  I'm not sure he would have gone out of his way to find me to ask me if this was possible had I not been in that general session.  As it turns out, I texted my agent who put together a nice certificate for the winner stating what she won and e-mailed it directly to Kinkos Fed-Ex that was in the hotel.  I had them print it, laminate it and at lunch, I presented him with a beautiful piece that he could hand over to the winner that night.  

4. Stand out then fit in

I know, this sounds like a contradiction.  But when I am networking and attending sessions I wear very bright colors so that I stand out in a crowd.  This can be hard when you are mingling with 2600 professional women!  I chose bright green, blue and white which stood out in a sea of black and grey suits.  Then, on the final night, I wore the conference T-shirt that everyone got when they arrived.  At this point, my session is over and I'm hanging out with everyone – so now I want to portray the fact that I am one of them.  Not everyone chose to wear their conference Tee at the party, but I noticed all the board members did.  

I guess the point of my blog is if you want to engage with your audience and your client, then be engaged in the event. Of course, knock it out of the park with your presentation, then add these extra touches and pay attention to what works for you.

From your grateful to connect with my peeps motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman


Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at http://www.MarilynSherman.com

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Marilyn, what an incredible motivational speaker you are to be brought back nine times running! And I'm certain with all you mentioned above, you'll be making it a decade. Your strategy to participate is on the money for all the reasons you mentioned. Just this last week my schedule allowed me to stay for two days at a program even though I was the opening keynote speaker. The friendships, connections and joy I experienced was priceless. Yet, I also have to admit I felt the pull of my in-box and to-do's for upcoming events, so I had to make the decision to just be in the now. Boy am I glad I did. And now that's why I'm working on a Saturday :-).

  2. Wow! Marilyn, I don't know many motivational speakers who get asked back NINE times for a client! That's phenomenal and a relfection of the tremendous value you must be bringing to those people. I LOVE the ideas you offer to make that happen. GREAT stuff!

  3. AWESOME post !!! And I agree with every single point. Love that – stand out and then fit in. So so so true. And I know you, so I know that this isn't just something you do at this conference – but everywhere. It's how you show up and claim that front seat. You walk your talk. You go girl! They were lucky to experience you! Motivational speakers rock!

  4. Thank you Marilyn!  I'm going to put all of these to fresh use this week!

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