Want to lose your audience for the duration of your next talk, presentation or sales call? It’s easy – just give it the old George Castanza “It’s Not You, It’s Me!”

My fellow Seinfeld fans may remember the episode where George’s girlfriend-of-the-moment, in attempting to break up with George in that famous TV coffee shop, dropped the line “I’m sorry George, it’s not you, it’s me”. George goes into meltdown mode by challenging her, and claiming she’s using HIS line. “If anyone can say, it’s not you it’s me…it’s ME!” he insists. His indignation finally gets the better of her and she acquiesces with “OK, OK George, it’s not me, it’s you”. “Your DAMN right it’s me!” George triumphantly declares.

Speakers can easily fall into the “It’s Not You, It’s Me” trap. After all, you the speaker are upfront, at the podium, on stage, next to your powerpoint. The audience has assembled to hear you, right? All eyes are on you. They are here to listen to you! It’s your show and they are but humble receivers of your message.

Wrong. The best speakers flip the equation and make it about the audience. They involve the audience. They ask rhetorical questions. They do quick surveys. They use examples that are tailored for that audience. Using a baseball analogy to a St. Louis audience. Using a skiing trip anecdote in Denver. They ask for volunteers. When they take questions from the audience, they repeat the question so everyone can hear and learn from the response. In short, they make sure the audience knows the speaker is there for them.

You sacrifice nothing by doing this. You still get to deliver your message, and still control the pace and emphasis of the delivery. The big win is connection. The best speakers understand it’s a privilege to have people assembled to hear their message. They reward their audience by making it personal. They connect.

So sorry George, but I have to echo your ex-girlfriend: “It’s You, Not Me”.