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It’s All About Knowing Your Audience

Categories: Business Presentations

Last week, I did a webinar on presentation skills.

One question I was asked at the end was, “What is the number one mistake that people make when it comes to giving presentations?

My answer? “Not knowing the audience.”

Think about it.

As a speaker, your information may be excellent, but if it doesn’t relate to the audience, what’s the point?

If the vocabulary, acronyms and jargon are correct, but the audience doesn’t understand them, what’s the point?

If your audience members like to learn by listening, but you use lots of PowerPoint slides, what’s the point?

Preparing a presentation should be all about the audience.

Instead, most presenters see things from their own lens.

Here are some critical factors to consider about your audience members, the next time you prepare a presentation:

  • What is their demographic? The examples you use must be understood by them.
  • What is their attitude toward your topic and you?
  • What experiences do they have relating to your topic?
  • How do they like to learn?
  • What are their hot buttons?
  • How do they make decisions?
  • Who are the decision-makers, and who are the influencers?

There are three times to get to know an audience.

The first is when you start your preparation; do your research.

The second is to arrive early, ask questions, and observe what is happening around you.

Finally, you can learn about an audience during the presentation itself. If the audience seems perplexed, is hostile or falling asleep, change what you’re doing. Do a quick reality check and shift gears.

There isn’t one speaker or speaking style that works with all audiences.

But, as a presenter, you can flex your style and your content.

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