Arts & Entertainment

Connect With Your Audience

LeVar Burton

Lesson time 05:02 min

Storytelling depends on a connection with your audience. In this lesson, LeVar shares techniques for engaging with a wide range of audiences.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Make Everyone Feel Included · Bring the Energy


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I never connect with an audience. No, I'm kidding. WOMAN: Oh, good. I was gonna say, but you just connected with all of us and all of us were just like... - I try to avoid people whenever possible. No. What does it mean to connect with an audience? What it means to me is that you are consciously creating a moment of communion, that that connection, your ability to reach out, right, and draw someone in with the story you're telling and with your instrument literally drawing them in with everything you've got, with the words, with the silence, right? That's the whole point of storytelling. You want to make that connection with who it is you're talking to. When I'm doing like, say, when I'm doing a hosting gig like "Reading Rainbow," it was important, it was necessary, for me to learn how to relate to the camera. Because as an actor, you're taught never look at the camera. Don't look at the camera. The camera's not there. But if you're communicating through the camera lens, you need to be comfortable looking down the barrel of the lens. And one of the things that really helped me in terms of working for the camera in delivering a speech or something like that, not when I'm doing a character, a narrative, one of the things that helped me was to imagine the face of someone and talk to one person. Make that imaginary connection with one person. I used to visualize my son Ward when I was doing "Reading Rainbow." And I would address everything to him. And in sort of narrowing my audience down when talking to the camera to one person, it made my task really digestible. I could talk to one person. I can successfully make contact with one person. And in doing that, I was able to speak to thousands. [MUSIC PLAYING] Now, when you're addressing, say, a room full of people, one of the things that I like to do is to make eye contact with different people in the audience, maintaining contact with the text. But when you look up, look specifically. Meet eyes with someone in the audience. And that's a surefire way to make sure they're engaged. Because if the audience sees you looking at someone, the thought going on in their mind is, he may be looking at me next, so I want to be there. I want to be present. I want to make sure that I'm able to meet his eyes should he come to me. So engagement can take place on so many levels. And I think one of the-- the most recognizable, one of the things we recognize most as human beings, is that eye contact. Just look at people. Just acknowledge them. Everybody wants to be seen, right? And it's no different when you're in the audience. You want to make sure that they're with you. And the easiest way to do that, the best way to do that, I believe, is to take their temperature visually, you know, and include them. Make sure that they feel included in what it is you're delivering. [MUSIC PLAYING] In terms of-- ...

About the Instructor

With his iconic roles in Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation and 23 years as the host of Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton has left an indelible mark on our culture. Now the Emmy, Grammy, and Peabody winner is sharing his approach to storytelling so you can connect authentically with any audience. Learn how to find intention, use your voice, and mine your experiences to be a more effective and dynamic storyteller.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

LeVar Burton

Emmy winner and Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton teaches you his techniques for more dynamic, authentic storytelling.

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