3 Tips for Presenting to an Unfamiliar Audience
February 6, 2015
I’m leaving this morning to fly out to give a presentation training session to one of America’s largest brands. I’m excited, but nervous because I have limited information about my audience tomorrow. I know the department they represent. I know their names. I even know their titles. However, I don’t know them.
So, what can I do to help eliminate any possible disasters? I make sure I’m clear on the following three objectives below:
1. Make Sure You Know Your Purpose
You must always know your purpose for giving a presentation. A presenter’s purpose will generally fall into one of four categories according to Dale Carnegie:
- To make something clear
- To impress and convince
- To get action
- To entertain
Choose wisely and appropriately so you don’t wander about on stage. Your audience needs you to have a clear direction if you want your presentation to be a success.
2. Make it Measurable
Before giving that webinar or taking the stage, you need to know the goals of the organizer. More importantly, you want to encourage them to provide you with measurable goals. For instance, encourage them to state suggestions like:
I want the audience to know how to execute on items X, Y, and Z.
I want the audience to understand the importance of A, B, and C.
I want the audience to buy into the vision of X.
You’ll then have a measurable end result to aim towards your message.
3. Make Sure There is a Gap
An audience is there to hear you speak because a gap of knowledge exists. They know a specific amount of content related to your topic and your goal is to help fill the gap between their limited knowledge and your expert knowledge.
For instance, let’s say your goal for a presentation is to educate the audience on the importance of having kids read one book a month. If the audience already believes in this philosophy, there is no gap, making your presentation a small value-add. However, if this is a new concept, the gap is large, and the opportunity is great for you as the presenter.
Preparing for any audience is always hard work. It requires some due diligence on your part but if you can master this practice, it will pay off nicely.
Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.