Even though you may be on stage when you are
making a presentation, it is your audience
that deserves the focus. They don't care
about you - at best they only care about how
you can "solve their problem" - at worst,
they want to be entertained.
Changing focus to the audience doesn't
happen by accident - it requires
preparation, both before and after the
Before the presentation
Ensure that you really understand the
audience and their objectives. Answering a
few simple questions can make a huge
difference: Why are they there? Do they have
to be? What are they hoping to learn or
accomplish, as a result of listening to you?
Of course, if your presentation is worth
giving, it is worth rehearsing: your style
and fluency should help deliver your
message, not hinder it.
At the end of the presentation
The purpose of your audience is not to be a
"receptacle" for your ideas, nor are they
there to feed your ego. The mark of a
successful presentation is one that causes
something to happen: mindsets are changed,
action is created, or decisions are made. So
why not end the meeting with a focus on
action? Here are a few ideas:
• Challenge each attendee to commit to doing
one thing based on what they each learned.
• Ask each pair of people to share with
eachother their most important take-away
from the presentation.
• Ask each person to write down an idea that
you will compile and circulate.
• Gain agreement, as a group, as to the next
steps and responsibilities.
While all of these ideas apply to group
presentations, they are equally applicable
in small group meetings, networking
meetings, and even one-on-one meetings with
your manager or staff.
This week's action item: Run through these
ideas prior to your next group meeting or
presentation. It's all about your audience:
what you do before and after can change a
good presentation into an impactful one.