Who Are You Presenting To?

A successful presentation, is one that resonates with your audience, and one that is tailored for them.  Here are some questions to help you figure out what your audience needs.  


  1. How big will the group be? This will affect the type of presentation you will give, and the resources you will need. The larger the audience gets, the less individual eye contact you can offer.  With very large groups, it is best to memorize your speech so you can focus on your confidence and owning the stage. 

  2. What roles do the audience members play in their organization? Think about how your message matters to them. 

  3. What does the audience already know? This gives you an understanding on where to start and how much background information you need to provide. Using statistics, video, photos in your presentation will help hammer home your idea. 

  4. What is your audience's likely to assume? Anticipate your audience's assumptions to make better choices about your content - you may need to clear up misconceptions.

  5. How well does the audience know you? If you don’t know the audience that well, you will need to build a rapport with them early on - perhaps through an anecdote or a shared frustration. Telling a personal relevent story will help your audinece connect with your presentation.

  6. What type of presentations are you audience accustomed to? Think about what has worked in the past, and think about what is going to grab their attention. Often, doing the unexpected will help you stand out in the crowd and keep the audience's attention. 

  7. Is something requiring them to be there? This may affect how receptive people are to your message. Ensure that the topic is relevent and has the audience's intrest at heart.  

  8. Is there a call to action during or after the meeting? Meet with attendees managers about the call to action you will be asking of meeting attendees, to make sure it aligns with theirs.

Talking to the program organizer before the event can help clarify many of these questions, and give you some helpful insite to the audience. Another suggestion is to greet the audience at the door and ask questions as they are walking in to guage their level of knowledge.  Anticipating the needs and the concerns of your audience will help you as you prepare and deliver your presentation.