Thursday, November 09, 2006

Presentation Tips-Know Your Audience!

Know Your Audience is always a critical factor in the success of your presentation. Thomas P. Mullen and Mala Narain of the Park Li Group strategy consulting group, stress you need to know how they listen!

People have distinctly different way of dealing with presentations about strategy, David Wagner writes in Sloan Management Review.

“Each audience member will emphasize one of four primary focuses-data, structure, vision and the human element-and the effective speakers are those who integrate all four aspects into their presentations.”

Listeners who are primarily data driven will be evaluating your presentation to see if “it is grounded in the appropriate facts and figures.” My translation: Engineer types, CFO’s!

Audience members who look first for structure want to see how all the different aspects of your talk fit together. My translation: College Professors
“Where are all these strategy discussions going to lead us,” is what the people who are listening for vision want to know. My translation: CEO’s, Consultants
And, finally people who focus on human dimension want to know where they-and everyone else-fit in. My translation: You and I!

“The key to success is to always assume all four types of listeners are present in every audience. Identify your default mode and leverage those skills as much as you can, but address the needs of the other types of listeners as well.”

While this information is not new it certainaly is valuable and gives us a timely reminder when giving presentations. It also gives credence to the fact that speaking off the cuff-puts you at a distinct disadvantage with audiences. Lastly, let’s not forget to chart out our use of humor in our presentations!

courtesy of Steve Mertz-

Sandra Schrift -


At 7:40 PM, Blogger Steve Mertz said...

Thanks Sandra! I enjoy your great tips. Steve

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Lee said...

Hi Sandra,
An interesting set of tips here. I hadn't thought about audiences in quite that way. I came across your post when looking for relevant links to my more specific blog post about the title slide for a presentation.
I wonder if the most important category is your fourth one? The people who want to know where they and everyone else fit in, include the other three categories. Thus a presenter could usefully ask:'Where do the members of this audience fit in relation to my topic.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger shalu said...

Nice Ideas!!

Here are some more..."caution" - these are unconventional ideas and you may not agree with all / some of them -


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