Question: What do you do if you find that your audience simply does not respond to you – they don’t smile or frown – they just don’t seem to react at all? This has happened to me on more than one occasion. I find it embarrassing and sometimes end up tripping all over myself trying to get them to “like” me.
Answer: Unfortunately, there’s nothing wrong with the audience. This is a speaker’s problem.
If a speaker sends energy in to the audience, energy will come out from the audience. An audience will mirror the speaker – if he is warm and animated, the audience will reflect that. You can see it in their faces (they’ll smile) and in their body language (they’ll sit up straight and perhaps lean toward the speaker).
One solution is to overdo or exaggerate expressions – smile from ear to ear, raise the eyebrows very high, etc. Also incorporate more gestures and, if possible, move into the audience so you can interact more intimately. Extended eye communication with individuals will also help connect you with audience members.
Most importantly, get feedback, either from individuals, or from video. See what it is you are doing and, more importantly what you are NOT doing. Then work to improve those areas. If you exude genuine warmth to your audience, you’ll receive the same from them.