Episode 067 -- Poll the Audience and the Power of Limits

2-Minute Tip: Poll the Audience


A simple way to increase audience engagement and inter action is to poll the audience. Ask them if they've had some sort of experience, like dealing with a tough customer or a misunderstanding with a boss. You already know the answer (probably) so you can use that to lead right in to your next point.


When you poll the audience be sure to tell the how to answer. Do you want the to say, "Yes!" Or do you want them to clap? Or do you want them to nod silently? If you don't make the choice for them, you never know what you'll get. 


A great choice is to ask them to raise their hand. And demonstrate this behavior when you ask for it. This way you get them moving physically plus you get points for using gestures.


Post Tip Discussion: The Power of Limits


People often think they want total freedom, and it's a nice idea. In reality, though, we do our best and most creative work within constraints or within limits. Those limits force us to make the best use of an available workspace. Instead of infinite options that are impossible to sort through, we have finite ones from which we can make our best selections.


When preparing a talk, the most important limit is our goal. By defining our goal, we establish the framework all our other topics must fit into. If a point we think we want to make doesn't support our goal, it's gone. Get rid of it. It's irrelevant to our topic and will only waste everyone's time. Plus the audience will think the speaker is rambling and boring.


Other important limits on our talks include the environment we will speak in. It's why we need to ask things like:

  • Where will I be speaking?
  • Who will I be speaking to?
  • How much time do I have?
  • What AV gear is available?
  • When will I be speaking
  • …and much more.


Too much choice is problematic. In Robert Cialdini's book Influence (affiliate link), he talk about a jam selling experiment. When a store increased the varieties of jam customers could choose from, sales went down. When they took away choices, sales went up.


Too many choices paralyzes us. We are afraid of making the wrong choice. Of being embarrassed. 


Working within certain limits empowers us to do our best work.


Call To Action


  • What are your thoughts on the power of limits? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Share this episode with a colleague and ask them their thoughts about limits. Or about Madonna.
  • Poll the audience during your next talk.
  • Don't get best...get better.

Check out this episode!

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