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Ace Any Speech or Presentation with this One Simple Yet Underused Tip.

Posted by Donaldson, Karen at Tuesday, 12/18/2012 8:15 am
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3.2 from 58 votes

Delivering a strong and engaging presentation does not need to be as difficult as many people make it out to be. It is pretty straight forward, especially when you spend some time using this one solid tip.

Get To Know Your Audience

One of the most powerful, yet overlooked, and most underused tools when preparing a speech or presentation, is an audience analysis. This process will enable you to get a better understanding of what is motivating your audience to be present, what their level of knowledge or interest is for your subject matter and, ultimately, what you need to give them that will make their time with you well spent.

Doing an audience analysis before gracing any stage with your presence, means the difference between a C+ and an A+ presentation. And who doesn’t want to deliver an A+ presentation. It's about having the right information so you can authentically develop a relationship with your audience.

Through the use of a series of questions you can better develop and structure a presentation that; first and foremost, meets the needs of your audience and, secondly, ensures that you speak with them – not at them. The analysis also provides you with the roadmap you need to deliver exactly what they came there for.

It’s just like going out to dinner and ordering a sirloin steak medium well and receiving it rare. Would you be pleased? Of course not.

Asking questions about the context of the event, the situation and demography of the audience, and so on and so forth will get you the "right" information you need. The right information to develop a powerful presentation, a presentation that makes a connection, a presentation that is engaging, a presentation that keeps the audiences attention. Age groups, gender, academic background, business experience and political preferences are some of the characteristics to focus on.

The audience analysis also allows you to personalize your presentation to the group, leaving them with that sought-after personal touch that "too often" gets lost in today's world of communication.

Here are a few questions you can use as a part of your audience analysis prior to your speaking engagement. Direct these questions to the person coordinating your attendance at the event.

Audience Analysis Questions:

1. What is the purpose for the speaking event?
2. What is the audience’s interest in the event?
3. Is the audience coerced or voluntarily gathered?
4. Who's in the audience; employees, managers, both?
5. Are there any recent group/company accomplishments?

Now the third question is quite important – it’s imperative to know if participants are there because their manager or boss told them they needed to be there, or, if it was a choice or a developmental opportunity. This can help you shape how you present to them, and how much of a persuasive presentation you will have to deliver. You need to know if your audience is already tuned out before they even get there.

No matter how much notice you have before speaking to an audience, you should always know the answer to these two questions - it's a MUST:

i) Who is in the audience
ii) What their knowledge is on the topic you are speaking to them on

Being prepared ensures that your message gets heard, connects with your audience and gets you on the path to being "that speaker that others admire.

Author and International Speaker Karen Donaldson is one of this Millenium's Top Communication & Self-Leadership Coach, Consultant and Keynote speaker, for more information visit


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