Insights + tips

How to present to different audiences

" Tailor your message to what matters to the audience, and they'll love you "

One of the best ways to quickly become a better presenter (and communicator in general) is to understand your audience better. Learn about their problems, priorities, and pressures. Tailor your message to what matters to them, and you’re on to a winner.

A question I often get in relation to this is ‘But what about if I’ve got different audiences for the same presentation? Let’s say I’m presenting about a new project we should adopt, and I know that some people will be focused on the money side, some on the logistics, and some on what the project will actually give us – how do I present a message which will appeal to all of those different needs at the same time?’

It’s a great question, and a genuine presentation challenge. Here’s how to deal with it:

Make sure that, in your presentation, you have something to offer each of those audiences. For example, you may have an overview of how the funding will work, a description of the rollout for the logistics people, and a summary of what the outcomes will achieve for your customers.

When you’re confident you’ve got that ready, then at the beginning of your presentation, you can let the audience know you’ve done this. Something like: ‘We’ve got about half an hour today, so I’m going to cover some important aspects of this project – we’ll start by looking at the costs, and how we can fund it, then we’ll go over the rollout from a logistics point of view, and we’ll finish by looking at what this could mean for customers if we get it right …’

I’ve deliberately used some fairly dull language to reflect a typical presentation (sorry!) but even so – I hope you can see that this way of beginning your presentation will help to make it appeal to different audiences.

It gets better – as well as being told that they’re going to hear what they need to hear, your audience is more likely to warm to you emotionally because what they’re hearing is ‘I’ve thought about you and what you need, and I’ve prepared something especially for you – you’re in safe hands with me!’

This will almost always benefit you, because audiences love knowing that the presentation has been tailored for them and is going to bring them a benefit – try this technique and let me know how you get on!

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