When planning a presentation you need to think about your audience and ask what you want them to learn and take away from it.
Our presentation trainer Sue Carruthers says that knowing your objectives will give you clarity and enable you to see how much potential content you can discard.
For example, if you want your audience to be excited by a product, you need to tell them the three ways it will make a difference to them – not bore them with a 20-point instruction list on how to make it work!
On the other hand, if you are talking to the maintenance department, the 20-point instruction list may be just the ticket!
To help you design a presentation that meets the audience’s needs and expectations, ask yourself the following questions:
- How big will the audience be?
- What will be the make-up – e.g. the age range, male/female ratio, and their roles in the company?
- What have they been told to expect (if anything)?
- Do they want to be there or have their arms been twisted?
- Will they have any concerns about the event?
- What might they be thinking or feeling before they arrive?
- What do they expect – and need?
- What do they know about the topic already?
- What do they think they know about the topic?
- What do they feel about the topic?
- Do they have any experiences that might influence their attitude?
- What questions might they ask?
- What is their style (e.g. big picture or detail, logic or feeling-based decision making) and “culture”?
- What visual aids might they like/expect?
- How will they be seated? (not immediately relevant to objective setting but always good to know!).
- What do you have in common that will you connect with them?
Like most things in life, the key to giving a successful presentation is preparation. If you get this right, you’ll almost certainly achieve your objectives and people will remember what you say.