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Last month I hit a “Speaking Milestone” – My first ever TEDx Talk!

Taking place in London, I aimed to share my knowledge and create a talk with actionable takeaways for everyone.

‌The title “How to INSTANTLY Create Engagement and Connection”

During the talk, I explained that when meeting an audience or a single person for the first time, there are 7 techniques I use in the first two minutes to create engagement and build a connection with them.

Here they are – hopefully at least one of these “tricks” will resonate with you and you’ll be able to apply them to your interactions:

1. Confident Body Language: A first impression is formed within 7 seconds….and 55% of that is made up of non verbal signals – Confident body language will help make a great first impression. To achieve this I make sure I’m doing three things:

    • Make eye contact – When you walk onto a stage or into a room, keep your head up and look at your audience.
    • Open posture – Crossed arms or closed posture suggests we are guarded. Instead, stand up straight, shoulders back and open those arms.
    • A friendly smile – The best way to show you are “non threatening” and friendly, is to smile. It’s that simple.

2. Force them to be present: We have over 6,000 thoughts per day. To grab someone’s attention, you need to disrupt their current thought and force them to be present. You can do that by asking an engaging or interesting question. This forces them to forget their current thought and think about what you have just said.

3. Get a Physical Commitment from them: To make sure you have their attention, you can get them to physical commit to the interaction. For example, at a speech at a wedding – politely ask your audience to turn their chairs towards you. It’s asking for a physical movement from them. Or in a large presentation you may ask for a “show of hands”. – This movement helps to keep them present.

4. You must Be Present: As a performer to make sure I connect with an audience, I must be 100% present, in that moment. This is the same with any audience – If you want to build a connection, give them your full, undivided attention. No Phones. No email…..Be Present!‌

5. Remember Names: What’s in a name? When it comes to rapport building with strangers….A lot! Remembering and using someone’s name shows that you value them as an individual and they feel special. Trust me, this small gesture goes a long way.

6. Radiate Positivity: When you meet someone for the first time, if you give them a positive experience, they will remember and come back for more. The simplest way to do this is to stay positive. Even if you have some negative thoughts, for that first interaction, find the positives, radiate good energy and watch how people are drawn to you like magnets.

‌7. Genuine Care: Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, care about your audience. Whether it’s a crowd of thousands or just one person, in that moment, genuinely care about them. This will instantly make you more curious about them and what is happening in their World.

‌So, the next time you find yourself in front of an audience—or even just chatting with a friend—remember these seven tricks.

Because in the end, it’s not just about the words we say, but how we make others feel that truly matters.