4 Things You Should Know Before You Give Your Next Presentation


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A great presentation requires you do more than just memorize or read your speech. A great presentation is one that delivers the right message to the right audience.

Whether you are giving your next presentation in your workplace, community or as a means to promote your business, here are four things you should know before you deliver your next workshop or seminar.

1. Know your audience - You want to make sure that your message can be effectively received and understood by the people attending your presentation. Some factors to consider include:

  • age
  • gender
  • educational level
  • cultural background
  • work experience
  • familiarity with the topic

    Finding common ground with your audience allows you to speak their language rather than expecting them to learn yours.

    Another factor to consider, which may be harder to discern, is their motivation for attending. Were they told to be there or did they volunteer? It makes a difference in what you can expect for audience interaction and participation.

    Knowing your audience goes a long way in ensuring that your presentation is well received by them.

    2. Know your purpose - You want to make sure that your presentation has a solid purpose. Are you trying to entertain, inform, persuade, or inspire people in the audience?

    When your audience leaves after your presentation you want them to know exactly what you want them to do next. Granted, they may not do it- many won’t-but they will know what you want.

    When your purpose is fuzzy, the audience may not take the time or make the effort to connect the dots that you laid out in front of them. You need to know your purpose before you design your presentation. And as you progress through your material, you connect each dot to the one before it. Know your purpose and let your audience know your purpose.

    3. Know your subject matter - You want to make sure you are comfortable with the subject matter before you start planning your presentation. You can’t fumble through your material if you want your presentation to make an impact on the audience.

    For each major point you make within your presentation you should know enough about it to do another mini-talk on it. Why do you need to know so much? Because you want to be able to answer any questions the audience might have on the topic.

    Sometimes to provide completeness or continuity in the subject matter you may need to lightly touch on a point that you don’t have a great deal of knowledge about. In these cases, admit that you aren’t an expert on those areas and move on. But make sure that these weaker segments are a small portion of the total content package.

    4. Know your time limit - You want to make sure you know how much time you have to cover the topic. Think of how many times you’ve asked someone for five minutes of their time, and then took 30 minutes to discuss the matter.

    Your audience will love you if you:

  • are mindful of their time.
  • make the best use of their time.
  • keep your content flowing smoothly.
  • give equal time and attention to each major point (no rushing at the end).

    Knowing how much time you have to deliver your presentation will help you decide how many facts and figures; examples and stories; instructions and warnings you should include for each point and sub-point.

    If you’re going to take the time to present your ideas or information to other people don’t you want your effort and energy to be well spent? It isn’t difficult to tailor your content and delivery style to meet any audience’s needs. But first you need to know what those needs are.

    These four factors will help you design and develop your next presentation so that it has the most impact. Whether you are delivering it within your workplace, community, or other organization you will set yourself apart if you take time to know your audience, purpose, subject matter, and time limit before you start speaking.

    Donna Doyon helps independent professionals and small business owners develop informational seminars and instructional workshops to promote their businesses. Visit http://www.the-public-speaking-advantage.com to learn how you can turn your expertise into a valuable marketing tool and income source.

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