I am so thrilled to have been a presenter at Chicago Ideas speaking on a topic that is close to my heart – audience engagement. Before we started, I got to know my audience by mingling. It’s what makes or breaks a speech. The better the audience, the better the speech. When you invest time in getting to know your audience, your audience is always rooting for you. The mingle

I shared some of my tips, tricks and techniques with a very engaged Chicago Ideas audience and I believe they are all going home with a little more confidence for their next presentation.

Chi Ideas 1

Here are some takeaway tips for you:


  • Get to know your audience before you speak.
  • The mingle matters and it allows you to include your audience throughout your presentation.
  • Leave the podium! It’s a bold move and it immediately connects you with your audience.
  • When you stumble, use it to your human advantage.
  • Thank your audience…  Compliment your audience…  Kindness always wins.
  • Be a little vulnerable.
  • Be yourself.
  • Be a good listener and incorporate live content into your speech.
  • Let the room determine the order of how your presentation should go, not your script.
  • Welcome interruptions and use your heart or your humor to make the moments real.
  • If you get lost, engage with your audience while you get yourself back on track. Ask someone a question that is topic related while you figure out what is next! Not always easy, but when it works, it’s magic!
  • And finally, audience engagement begins at home. Try out your humor, timing and wit on the people who surround you in life. Then go for the big stage!


Audience engagement is everywhere.  In church, temple, spin class, the grocery store, the dinner table.  Get engaged and watch your world become more meaningful.  And then…

Go out there and SPEAK!!

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