Thursday, September 3, 2009

Closeness and connecting with your audience

Yesterday I was mulling over the first of a series of blog posts by Nick Morgan on How do you connect with your audience?

He began by pointing out that there are four different zones or spaces between people. These are:

Public space- Greater than 12 feet

Social space- 4 to 12 feet

Personal space- 1.5 to 4 feet

Intimate space- less than 1.5 feet

The four spaces could have been described better by an illustration, so I used PowerPoint to create one.

He finished by stating the essential point that:

“Everything significant in communication between people happens in personal space or intimate space.”

When I looked at my illustration I began to wonder if the distinction between public space and social space might roughly correspond to Professor Andrew Abela’s distinction between conference room and boardroom presentation styles.

Last December I discussed both how Your presentation style should match both your intent and the size of your audience and how Audience size determines working distance and thus presentation style. We don’t have common terminology for describing either working distances or audience sizes, so there is much more that could be said about interactions, if we just could find the words.

For theater seating a person takes up a square with a 3-foot side, so an audience of 64 people would fit into the 24-foot side of the green square marked as social space. Does that audience size define the limit for a boardroom presentation? (I first assumed that 12 feet was the width, but it's the half-width,or radius).


Eric said...

Interesting post!

In my recently published Christmas novel, the main character, Ian, has to undergo some management training. However, he almost backs out when he discovers that public speaking is part of the deal!

He sticks with it, though and soon learns an interesting technique from one of his internet searches. It's all about how to mingle and network with people before an event. He tries some of the tips by helping his new friend, Elise, with some administrative functions prior to the speech class. It gives him an opportunity to chat with some of the other class members. While going around the room, he feels like a host. It's a real confidence builder! (I'll bet he really got up close, too!)

Of course, this opportunity to work the crowd is not always available at different speaking venues but when it is.......

All the best!
Eric Dana Hansen, Author of "IAN, CEO, North Pole"

Richard I. Garber said...

Eric: Thanks for stopping by. Talking with the audience and making new friends before a presentation is useful advice. You can read about it in an August 5, 2009 post by Jason Peck: or an August 17, 2009 post by Lisa Braithwaite: