“Hi, It’s Michael here, The Presentation Maestro and this question is ‘Do techniques vary according to the size of audience?’ and frankly, not really – that’s me saying no and nodding at the same time deliberately.

Not really, because what is natural, is natural. And what engages an audience is largely you being natural and human and it’s where people start to use artificial gestures and techniques that we that we start to go ….. {backing off}.  I mean one of my least favourite is the one that people often do is when they either start off a talk or they ask a question and they raise their hand. I wonder how many of you have…. {raising hand} Do any of you….. {raising hand}.  Now, to me, this isn’t natural.  Do you come home at the end of a day saying  ‘Hi darling, how was your day?’ {raising hand} er ‘What would you like to drink?’ {raising hand}.  It’s unnatural.

Other certain gestures too, certain politicians who will remain nameless because this is a public tape, but use gestures like this around the podium… {both hands in front moving up and down in tandem} now we don’t use these gestures most of the time…. ‘hello’ {both hands in front moving up and down in tandem} ‘do you come here often?’ {both hands in front moving up and down in tandem}  It’s weird. it’s really weird, just in case you didn’t get that on camera it’s a little gesture like this in front of the face {both hands in front moving up and down in tandem} – weird.

So the more natural you are.  The more human you are, the more likely you are to engage with your audience.  And I don’t think that varies very much.  If you’re talking to a small group or in front of a massive group. And if you’re on a really big stage and you’re doing a big gig somewhere, frankly, most of the time if it’s that big a gig, they’ll be filming you and the recording, not the recording, but the film of you will be on the screen behind you.  So all the gestures you make will be exaggerated or made large anyway.  So no, there isn’t much difference between talking to a small group and a big group.

The big one is eye contact. And if you’re under a spotlight or well lit up as you often are at these events, the audience generally go dark, the lights go down on them, the lights are on you so it’s very difficult to see.  This is the only time I’d advocate you faking it. If you can’t make it, fake it.  In other words look everywhere you know there are people look up at the gods {pointing to the place the balcony would be in a theatre} look at the boxes, look at the front of the stalls, look in the direction where you know there are people and they will absolutely love it because they’ll feel you’re talking directly to them.  And you will be, you probably just can’t see them.

So, short summary, the techniques hardly vary at all between talking to a small group or to a larger group except of course you do talk louder talking to a larger group and make sure your eye contact captures them all.  Apart from that, it’s very very similar.

Hope you found that handy, see you on the next one.”