Enjoyed your article, "The psychology of crowds" (August). It made me think, and that's what a good article should do. As a professional speaker and communication-skills coach, I believe we play an important role in the crowd's behavior. The audience sometimes acts as a mirror: what we send out we get back. Send out a message of seriousness and receive seriousness back; send out positive energy and humor, receive positive energy and humor. Professionals understand the relationship speakers/presenters have with an audience, but many newer speakers wonder why their presentations fail to connect with the audience. I believe it is because [the speaker] first failed to connect with [themself]. If you are not comfortable, confident and energized, your audience will respond accordingly. Crowd control begins with speaker control.
Patrick J. Donadio, MBA, Certified Speaking Professional and Master Certified Coach Columbus, Ohio
Your column, "The psychology of crowds has a lot to do with the psyche of presenters" (Podium, August) throws the ball right back in the presenter's court. It's an interesting twist on our responsibility as speakers that should get the adrenalin pumping in all of us who want highly motivated, interested and intelligent crowds in front of us. Your observation that teachers in classrooms make the difference between creative, engaged kids and uninspired, dull kids is spot on. Remember our own teachers? Your final line — "But at that crucial moment before you take the stage, it's important to remember that you, the presenter, are often the only thing standing between intelligence and idiocy" — is a great insight clearly articulated. Thank you.
Lee R. Bailey, Training Manager Dead River Co. Bangor, Maine