Speech Presenting – Seven Ways to Tailor Your Speech to the Audience
Every speech has an audience and every audience is different. Tailoring your next speech to its audience is as important as the content in the speech. So how do you connect with an audience so your message matches their expectations, wants and needs and you get your message across effectively.
Here are the Seven Strategies to Target Your Business Presentation Message With Laser-Like Precision
1. Research your audience prior to the presentation.
The more you know about your audience the more likely you are able to connect with them. I’m often blown away by the number of business people who just don’t bother to find out anything about their audience. The more specific you can be the better. For example one of the best briefs I received from a client was the following description of the audience:
“The majority of the group are on a two days, two nights, four off roster. These are largely process technicians. The remainder are on a five-days-on two-days-off roster. Day shift people include tradespeople (we call them maintenance technicians) and lab, administration and professional employees. Average tenure across the group is eight years ranging up to over 30 years. Average age across the group is 38 years. Gender Split: Females 6 per cent, Males 94 per cent”
What a great start and fantastic research statistics on the audience. From this I could work out nearly half the audience hadn’t been with the company very long, they were predominantly a younger audience and mostly male! This provided a strong foundation to tailor my message to connect with this group. Please note this was an exceptionally good briefing from the client and most of the time you will have to do the legwork to find out who your audience is!
2. Find Out What Your Audience Want.
Again ask key questions of the event organiser such as ‘What are the key issues impacting on your industry, business or members?’ I always try and meet as many of the audience as
possible prior to a presentation as ask “what’s on your mind at the moment and what do you want to get out of this presentation?” Be specific.
Here’s an example I used for a recent presentation for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. I discovered most potential investors will want to know 3 things when trying to raise finds. What are the sales projections? Who are your target customers? What is the exit strategy? Provide this and you’ve won them over.
3. Use Examples.
Nothing builds empathy and rapport with your audience as powerfully as examples. Remember you are selling intangible ideas and practical examples make these ideas more memorable, believable and tangible.
4. Use Vignettes.
No, this is not a type of dressing you put on your salad! It is a short story, example or incident. The key point is they are easy to remember and tell. But they must be short and relevant.
5. Use Metaphors.
These are powerful words that conjure up vivid images in the minds of your audience. They are a proven speechwriting technique. I recently heard former US President Bill Clinton speak. Clinton used the metaphor of the gap between the invention of the club and the shield to describe the present situation in the war against terrorism. He said,
“this gap needs to closed”. This makes intangible concepts have more impact with an audience.
6. Be Specific.
The more specific you can be with actual examples, case studies, and results the more laser-like your precision will be in targeting your message. Know your content and don’t be afraid to reveal personal stories as examples in your speech, this will strengthen your relationship with your audience.
7. Use the Incident/Point/Benefit Technique.
This one is really powerful. Tell the story, make the point and then importantly, reinforce how this will benefit the audience. It took me years to work this one out but it will make
a big difference to the impact of your presentations.