Some folks who have to speak in public just don't like people. They don't enjoy being around people. They find people, in general, to be an annoyance.
If you're not a people person, you're going to have to work a lot harder at being an effective speaker. Why is that?
A people person is observant
A speaker needs to read the audience and be able to detect the general feeling in the room. Is there a positive or negative vibe? Are people responding or nodding off? Is the audience giving you energy or are they more like a stone wall?
If you're not reading your audience, you are not making a connection with them. If the audience doesn't feel connected to you, they are not going to listen to or retain your message.
A people person is open-minded
Does your audience feel that you are approachable and open to their ideas and feedback? Or do you come across in words, facial expression and body language as rigid and closed off? If your audience doesn't feel that they can contribute to the conversation (and even disagree), then they will shut down themselves.
A people person has empathy
A speaker must learn about the audience in advance and understand their needs and wants in order to give the most value in her presentation. If you can't understand where your audience is coming from, or worse, if you are judgmental about them, why should they listen to you? If you don't care about them, why should they care about you?
A people person makes others feel special
This one may seem a little corny, but it's true: your audience wants to feel like you created your talk just for them.
They are not interested in a warmed-over canned presentation where you just change the name of the company in your introduction. We love the sound of our own names, and we love to know that something is customized just for us.
A people person is a clear communicator
A speaker must be clear, concise and get to the point. A good speaker doesn't leave the audience wondering what just happened. A good speaker doesn't say one thing but mean another. If the audience walks away confused, it's the speaker's fault. Period.
A people person motivates and inspires
Ultimately, a people person gets the audience to do what he wants. Not because he wants it, but because it's best for the audience. The speaker who is a people person knows how to encourage, support and inspire others to do and be their best. The audience walks away ready to take action, and then actually does take action.
If you don't consider yourself a people person, you can still learn the necessary skills you need to reach your audience most effectively.
A people person truly loves and enjoys her audience. Are you a people person?