Planning your presentation – Step two: Research your audience

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Having established a laser sharp purpose for your presentation, are you fully informed about your audience?

The more you know about your audience, the better you will be able to relate to them by including relevant content and thereby engage them during your presentation.

Some research questions to get answers to include:

  • Who will be attending? (Position titles so you can establish who the key players are.)
  • What are the key players’ key performance indicators (KPI’s) they’re looking for?
  • Why they are there and what do they expect? (Does their agenda match yours?)
  • How much do they already know about your topic? (To pitch at the right level.)
  • What are their background experiences with you/your company/this topic?
  • How many will there be? (So you can arrange enough seating/handouts etc.)
  • What general demeanour can you expect? (Open minded; obliging; hostile.)

Obtain this information by making a few phone calls to your contact/s at the audience, checking out websites, and talking to your colleagues. Your organisation’s CRM may also have valuable information for you about your prospective audience.

Engage in background research to get a clear picture in your head as to who the audience will be and how they might feel and respond to you and your message. This clarity will enable you to select the most impactful content for the audience and it will stop you from presenting on topics they may not have any interest in at all.

Eliminate nasty surprises by getting information early and strategising on how to capitalise on it or negate it. Don’t ignore the importance of this research as it can really distinguish you as having tried to understand the audience’s agenda.

About Rolene
Corporate Training Consultant specializing in Sales, Trainer and Presentation Skills

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