Blaire Palmer is a keynote speaker and a world authority on leadership and the future of work. A former BBC Journalist, she shares her insights from 20 years of coaching and provoking leadership teams with conference audiences all over the world.
When we come to writing a presentation, we generally focus on what we want to say. Now, that sounds right, but in fact, it may not lead to the compelling speech we hoped for. A better place for you to start is to think about who is in your audience and what they might want.
An audience of recent hires or graduates wants something entirely different to an audience made up of subject matter experts or senior leaders. Thinking about who you’re talking to will enable you to pitch your message just right. Get that wrong, and you’ll either overwhelm your audience with jargon they don’t understand or bore them with ideas they first heard a decade ago.
So, in this post, we’re going to be exploring how you can better understand your audience and what they want to craft the speech that’ll make them crave for more.
Let’s dive in! So, what does an audience actually want…
To be Entertained
Above all, you want to entertain your audience – this might seem secondary to providing them with information. However, the truth is that your audience won’t listen to anything you say, let alone remember any of it, unless you are an engaging and vibrant speaker.
Don’t make your audience have to work hard to stay interested. Make it easy for them by telling some stories, being down to earth or energetic, and bringing your presentation to life with interesting language or even a bit of humor.
Something to Take Away
Yes, of course, it’s important to keep your audience entertained, but that doesn’t mean it’s ALL banter and ‘rah-rah.’ People still want something they can take away from your presentation, whether that’s new information, an important fact, or even a roadmap. Help them do something as a result of your presentation by giving them something they can apply when they return to their day job.
Something about you
A presentation is a great way to connect with people. To do that, you’ll have to let your guard down and reveal something about yourself. For example, sharing how you got to the role you have today, what inspires you, how you feel about what you’re talking about, or something to do with your life outside of work. Just by sharing a little about yourself means your audience will see you as an actual human being to whom they can connect with. And, when your audience connects with you as a person, they’ll care more about what you’re saying as well.
To Connect with Each Other
One of the most valuable parts of an in-person conference is the chance to meet colleagues and friends you don’t normally get to see. And this is possible on Remo too. Think about how you can encourage chat between delegates, authentic networking, or even opportunities for people to connect post-event. It could be as simple as asking your audience to share their thoughts about a point you’ve made in the chat or pose a question they can ask another delegate when they have their breakout session, for instance.
Thinking about your audience and what they want gives your presentation an additional dimension. It goes from being a passive experience to a more immersive and engaging one, and that means people will remember what you said long after the conference is over.
Blaire Palmer is a speaker mentor. Reach out to us if you’d like her advice or help on how you and your speakers can give presentations that inspire and engage your online audience.
Blaire has also created some additional free resources for you, which you can access here. It includes resources like cheat sheets to help you write a strong opening to your presentation and ways to identify areas you need to work on to give an online presentation that knocks people’s socks off.