As presenters, we make many mistakes but do you know what the number one mistake is?
It is not tailoring our presentation to our audience.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Then why don’t we do it?
I believe it comes down to one thing: laziness.
Yep – laziness. Tailoring our presentation means work and as experts, we think we can get away with a one-message-fits-all. We don’t want to use time and energy to change our message every time. If it worked once, it will work again, right?
Not really. You see every audience is unique. Every audience member brings to your presentation their own ideas, experiences, knowledge. biases, and opinions. Every audience has its own interests and reasons for being there. Their goal is to walk away from your presentation with something that helps them. That’s why they are there! How can you influence and inform your audience if you haven’t considered what they want or need?
Presenting shouldn’t be about your agenda. It should be about your audience’s. They are the stars. Without them, we would be talking to an empty room. It is worth spending some time thinking about your audience and how you can tailor your message to them.
Here are three questions to ask yourself:
- Who are they? What are their ages, gender, culture, education, and professions? Will they be a small audience or large? Formal or informal? Strangers or members of your tribe?
- What motivates them? Why would they be coming to your presentation? What are their interests and needs? What would be their ‘what’s-in-it-for-me” factor?
- What knowledge do they have? What level of knowledge do they already have about your topic? What do they need to know?
The benefits? Understanding your audience allows you to create a stronger rapport with them because they see you as someone who is speaking directly to them and someone who cares about them. It helps you tailor your message to meet their needs so they can use your expertise to impact their lives. It helps you become more personal and not someone who is just going through a standard script by using stories, examples, and visuals your audience can relate to.
It is amazing how a little thing can change your presentation from mediocre to powerful.
Don’t be ‘that’ presenter. Be the one who connects with their audience and inspires them to take action!