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 as informed about your audience as you need to be?

The more you know about your audience, the better you will be able to relate to them by including relevant content that resonates.



Some research questions to get answers to include:

  • Who will be attending?
    • Position titles so you can establish who your key stakeholders are. Tip: Use LinkedIn Navigator to help with this research
  • What are their key performance indicators (KPI’s) they’re looking to meet via your message?
    • Cost saving; Innovation; Reduce churn; Solving a particular problem; Making a decision?
  • Why they are there and what do they expect?
    • Does their agenda match yours? WIIFM
  • How much do they already know about your topic?
    • So you can pitch at the right level.
  • What are their background experiences with you/your company/this topic? What general demeanour can you expect?
    • If there is ‘baggage’ you want to know about it!
    • Are they open minded? Have they been told to attend? Might they be hostile/disruptive?
  • How many attendees will there be?
    • So you can use the appropriate visual supports and arrange enough seating/handouts etc.

Obtain this information by making a few phone calls to your contact/s at the audience, checking out websites & LinkedIn Navigator, talking to your colleagues. Your organisation’s CRM (historical data) 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 deliver your message in the most impactful way for the audience and it will stop you from presenting content that is irrelevant to them.

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
Independent Consultant specializing in Sales Messaging (including Presentation Literacy), Methodologies and Coaching Skills

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