So I'm sitting here reading Scott Berkun's Confessions of a Public Speaker, pretty good book by the way (from the Viaboxx library). I'm just through the chapter about "Working a hard room".
And then it hits me: I actually spend an effort being a good audience at talks. I go to the odd conference and user-group meeting, and whoever is speaking, and even if the talk is not hitting home with me, I always try to...
- Sit down in the middle, close to the speakers where they can see my face
- Focus my full attention on them - no smartphone/laptop
- React to what they're saying with my face, friendly smile when they say something smart, raise my eyebrowsand smile when they say something surprising
- Laugh at their jokes (I mean, not fake laugh, but be open to laugh)
- Ask questions when I wonder about something
- Hold my criticism till after the talk, if any, and give it in person
- Think about and note any questions I'd like to ask in the Q&A
I do this because when I'm up there speaking myself, I would like to get the same behavior. A more involved audience makes my talk better, and gives more value back to them in the end.
PS: My next talk is presenting "Git for Windows users" at the Bonn .Net user group, Bonn-to-code.net, 29th of November.