In this post we’re going to build on what we learned last time and continue down the path of how to properly prepare your message.
The most important preparation step is crafting your message.
You need to begin with the end in mind by asking yourself this question: “What is my real objective?”
- Are you there to persuade the audience to do something?
- Are you there to teach the audience something?
- Are you there to share information with the audience that they need to know because of something they have coming up in their lives?
Whatever you are going to be speaking to the audience about should dictate both the way you deliver your presentation and the way you structure the content for your presentation.
Connect With Your Audience
The easiest way to get started with that is to use this as an opportunity to connect with your audience.
Find a way to speak with several audience members prior to the presentation. Spend a few minutes on the phone. Ask them what they expect, what they need, what they want, and what will best serve them from your being in front of their organization. Then take the information they give you and use it to help shape the message you are going to deliver.
Let’s Consider An Example.
Suppose you talked to several audience members who said there was a divide within their organization on how people saw the issue you were coming to talk about. That would tell you immediately that what you need to do to help them the most is give them the two different perspectives that exist on that issue.
As you craft your speech, you want to make sure that you have enough points to cover one alternative, and a matching number of points to cover the other. That way, when you speak to the group, you have done your job. You have informed them about the two alternative perspectives and you allow them to make the decision.
You would do something similar if you were trying to persuade the group to take a specific position. In that case, you would bring the evidence that you have to bear on the situation, share your examples, and help them understand why that makes the case for or against whatever the decision happens to be.
No matter what you do, talking to your audience is a key step in making sure your presentations are a success. If you can find out what they want to hear and then give them what they want to hear, you’re going to be more successful.
Remember the real objective of your presentation. Is it to persuade? Teach? Share information? Your objective will dictate the way you deliver your presentation, and the way you structure your content.
So when you’re crafting your message, ask yourself this question:
How do I prepare to ensure that my presentation connect with this audience?