No two people are truly identical. Similarly, the reason each member of an audience comes to hear your presentation is not the same. Yes, there is a common denominator – but each person has a different approach and your points have to resonate with the recipient.
This challenge has increased substantially during the pandemic as groups attend Zoom and Team meetings, with speakers showing up at the last minute and not really understanding the individual needs within the audience. As we move back to in-person meetings, this approach will no longer be acceptable.
For instance, people take different approaches when faced with a challenge. Some are:
- Learners – focused on understanding the context;
- Problem solvers – focused on identifying causes and possible solutions;
- Decision-makers – focused on taking action.
Similarly, some are:
- Individuals – seeking information with which to make their decision.
- Members of teams – responsible for gathering information and sharing it so others can make a decision
- Leaders of teams – responsible for reframing the information gathered and presenting it so the team makes the “fight” decision
One last example. Imagine you’re speaking to a company about forging a stronger culture. There are many issues that might be on the mind of different individuals.
- What’s the most important content issue: trust, respect, continuous improvement?
- What’s the biggest process issue: onboarding, ongoing communication, understanding?
- What’s the biggest audience-relationship issues: employees-to-employees, employees-to customers, leaders/management to workers?
So, as you return to the world of in-person presentations, take the extra time to truly understand your audience and gear your presentation to meet their primary needs!