Friday, May 20, 2005

The More You Know, The More It Will Flow - Tips For Knowing Your Audience

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

The more you know about your audience, the better your presentation will go.

For example, if I've got a large diverse group, I'll ask the organisers to give me the names of five people who will be in the audience who represent a cross section across the organisation. I learnt this from listing to a Voices of Experiences CD with Rosita Perez put out by NSA of USA.

I'll ring each individually prior to the presentation and the conversation will go like this after a brief introduction:

Q: "What keeps you awake at night?"
A: "What work or personal?"
Q: "Both"

I then get a great insight into the challenges they face, personally and professionally.

I then summarise and work this into my presentation.

"Gathering intelligence about your target readers when writing a book or about your audience members prior to a presentation is an effective way to keep your readers or listeners awake, alert, amused, and involved. You can learn more about your audience members by asking the host specific questions about the group," according to US speaker Jeff Davidson.

He suggests asking these questions:

Who is the most popular person in the audience?
Who is the least popular?
Who wins the contests or gets all the honors?
Who never gets any of them?
Who has been with the organization the longest?
Who recently came on board?
Who is the biggest kidder?
Who leaves the biggest tips?
Who is known for falling asleep in presentations?

"If you can gather the answers to any of these questions in advance, you have excellent tools at your command! The fact that you go the extra mile by finding out such information gets people buzzing about you and your presentation and makes you more memorable," Mr Davidson said in a recent article in SpeakerNet News published on the 20th May 2005.

Want help crafting a speech and knowing your audience? Try our coaching or consulting services here.

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