Would you like to have greater credibility, an air of authenticity, and greater connection to your audience? Great - you've come to the right place. The best thing is that the tip you are about to read is really easy to use. All you need to do is relate something that just happened to something in your talk. If you can make it funny, even better, but it doesn't have to be funny - and it should never seem forced.
There are a few ways this can work:
1) By referring to something your introducer or a previous speaker said.
2) By referring to something the group normally does, or did that day only (or sometimes didn't do) in preparing for the meeting/gathering.
3) By referring to something in the wider world of news that just happened, that the people present would most likely be aware of.
#3 is the least effective of the above, but it still works, and is the easiest to prepare for.
For 1) and 2) to work, you have to pay close attention to what is going on and what is being said. The reason these work so well is that it tells people you are not only "in the moment," but that you care about them and about what you are doing with them. That you are paying attention. Sure, this is an extremely simple concept, but it is an extremely simple concept that works.
A friend of mine, Lance Miller, who won Toastmasters' 2005 International Speech Competition (out of over 25,000 competitors), was in one of the competitions leading up to the finals. A previous competitor that day gave a speech based on what his uncle, named Ernie, (who was present in the audience), had given to him throughout his life. It was a very inspiring speech, and the audience loved it. When Lance's turn came to speak, he started by greeting the audience, then added " . . . and especially Uncle Ernie."
Just a quick bit of background information- in speech competitions, people usually know exactly what their speech is going to be, word-for-word. That's not Lance's style, but it's how 99% of the people in the competition do it.
The audience loved it! People found it very funny and very personal. Lance won the competition, then went on to be the World Champion. Just adding those few words helped him immensely.
It can also be even simpler. One I've used (after greeting the audience), is saying " . . . and thank you Gillian, for matching my tie." That only works if 1) you are wearing a tie, and 2) Gillian's clothes really do match it. Of course, any time you make any reference to how someone is dressed, you must be very careful to not offend them.
Try it - you will be pleasantly surprised at how well this works.
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