Typically, in making a speech at a public forum, businesspeople hope to get a return on their investment.

After all, giving a great speech or serving on a panel before a targeted audience necessitates your valuable time and effort in preparation.

You could give a speech and then go back to your office waiting for the phone to ring.

Or, you could give a talk and then take strategic steps so that you can further connect with the individuals sitting in the audience – for strong results.

The latter point can lead to a strong ROI, if you effectively manage the crowd.

A widely acclaimed Los Angeles consultant and valued friend of mine, Joey  Tamer, knows the important details to manage the audience members – after she gives a talk or serves on a panel.

Joey Tamer

Joey Tamer


Ms. Tamer made her stellar reputation as a strategic consultant to technology and media, and she’s been a frequent contributor to this business-coaching portal.

In other words, she knows how to make people comfortable so that they will wait in line to talk with you.

Her nine recommendations:

1. Move away from the podium. If the room is needed for the next speaker, move into the hallway or the speakers lounge (if it is nearby) with your crowd.

2. If you can, set a stack of your business cards a full arm’s reach away from you on a table, so folks can pick one up if they don’t want to speak with you directly at this time, or cannot wait in line for the chance, or if they want to learn more before contacting you.

3. Keep more of your business cards in your left hand pocket.

4. Acknowledge the line of people waiting to speak with you, with a nod and a welcoming smile at the line.

5. Focus on the person in front of you. Offer direct eye contact and shake hands (with your right hand) while offering your business card with your left (from your left hand pocket).

6. Focus on the person’s name so you know it. Ask for their card.

7. If they hand you a laminated card (all the rage just now, but you cannot write on them), pull out a post-it (2 1/2 inch by 1 inch) from your pocket and write your notes on that.

8. You must take notes on the cards. You will not remember what each person said. Not even later tonight. And remembering will distract you from the next person in line.

9. Set aside high-maintenance talkers who disregard the others in line. Smile deeply at them, and say “Please, I want to attend to your questions in depth. Let me speak with these people who are waiting, and come back to you in a few minutes to speak in more detail.” If that person objects, ask them to phone you the next day (offer specific times you will be at your desk). If they phone, they are serious; if not, it won’t matter.

When to mention contact info

“If you are wise, you will have offered your URL and email address during your introduction before speaking, so those who did not wait can still contact you,” says Ms. Tamer.

“Allowing yourself to be accessible in these ways will smooth the way to expanding your network of colleagues, contacts, prospects, customers and clients,” she adds.

Public speakers are admirably assertive people. But you have to do more than just give a speech in order to manage the crowd.

From the Coach’s Corner, for more valuable tips on speaking, see these articles:

How to Get More Opportunities as a Guest Speaker — If you’re successful in generating speaking opportunities, you’ll create opportunities for your career. At the least, you’ll be in a position to raise your business profile. Ideally, prospective clients or customers will be in the audience. Count on opportunities to develop centers of influence — people who can refer business to you.

How to Obtain the Most Profit from Speaking Opportunities — It’s one thing to be invited to speak at your industry’s major event. But it’s another to create the right impression for your hosts, your audience and prospective customers or clients. There’s more to it than you might think.

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others — Do you know when you marginalize others? If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication. This is also true if you want to get a job. Savvy employers know poor communication skills hamper efficiency and productivity.

Public Speaking Tips – for Speeches in Accepting Awards, Honors — So you’re about to be honored for your pro bono work, volunteerism, or for creating a foundation to fund scholarships for education. But you get stage fright or don’t know how to most-effectively frame your acceptance speech? Join the crowd. A lot of people have difficulty in public speaking.

“When you can’t wait for your ship to come in, you’ve got to row out to it.”

-Greer Garson


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.