You’ve probably attended a meeting or presentation and, early in, thought, “This has no relevance to me at all.”
Or maybe you’ve sat through the entire meeting and wondered, “Now what?”
You can avoid these common pitfalls in your own presentations if you answer these two critical (but sometimes rarely asked) questions before you begin working on your content or making slides.
1. Who’s coming?
Who will attend your meeting or presentation?
Spend five minutes thinking about them. Picture their faces, say their names. What do they want? What are they afraid of? Jot down your answers on paper.
Want to go one step further?
Ask them yourself. Walk around the office and talk to your co-workers. Or put together a short survey and send it to them. This is especially helpful if you’re leading a workshop or seminar and have the attendees’ email addresses before the event. You can quickly create a survey and collect the responses easily with a Google Form.
The better you understand who’s in your audience, the more you can tailor your message to their needs. And the more relevant it is to their needs, the more they’ll appreciate your talk–and you.
2. What do I want them to do?
A boring presentation delivers information.
A good presentation motivates people to act.
Once you understand your audience and their needs, decide what you’ll want them to do.
In his massively bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey calls this “beginning with the end in mind.” You can apply the same idea to your presentations.
Do you want prospects to buy? Parents to change the way they talk to their teens? Students to get their work done? Employees to buy in to a new way of doing things?
Determine what you’ll ask them to do and then work backwards–build everything in your meeting or talk with the end in mind. This keeps your message focused and gives your audience clear direction when its over.
For your next presentation, start by asking these two questions and you’ll see a difference.