Knowing your Audience

A philosophy I developed years ago which is explained in my post Meetings are Effective, If Everyone Gets What They Want I believe that going into a meeting, everyone wants something and a successful leader/moderator understands that and does his/her best to provide that. Just like meetings, my philosophy applies to presentations and trainings. Participants and presenters in a presentation or training session, whether in-person, virtual, in a group, or one-on-one want something from that exchange; to learn something new, to get their specific question(s) answered, to get their point across or something else.

I found an article recently which aligns with my philosophy. The article recommends when presenting to CIOs, which is just a generalized type of very busy person, you (as the presenter) should begin with your message, and then, if time and interest permits, give them the background for that message.

When I lead technology training sessions, I try to ask each participant at the beginning of the session if they have any questions or want some specific information from the training. If I can answer the person’s question or give them the information quickly I do that, then they can either leave (which doesn’t bother me, because my goal is help them) or remain in the session with an open mind and be more open to hearing what I have to say.

This concept also makes be think about how meetings/trainings and informative presentations are very different from storytelling type presentations such as TED Talks. Ever since reading the book Presentation Zen, which I talk about in my posts Good Presentations and Storytelling Where?, I realized that there is a difference. Unfortunately I have not been able to figure out the best way to tell a story during a meeting, technical training or informative presentation. I’m open to other’s ideas on this topic.

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