Have you ever found yourself sitting through a presentation and wondered what does this have to do with me? Or, why was I supposed to come to this presentation? While you may have been interested as an observer, you probably felt on the outside, and not as engaged as you would have been if the presentation had been geared to your needs, your background, your knowledge level ”“ to you
As a presenter, one of the most important preparations is taking time to understand your audience: What are the similarities that have brought this group together? What do they need to know? Who is your listener? Bottom line ”“ it is all about your listener.
To ensure that your message or presentation is listener-focused start utilizing ProComm’s acronym K.N.O.W. as your audience-analysis tool. Doing this quick process as your first step in your content development will result in your audience connecting with you and your message.
K ”“ Knowledge. What is your audience’s probable level of knowledge about your subject? This will help you decide if you can use professional jargon, acronyms or if you need to define the terms you are using, what assumptions you can make about their knowledge level when you are introducing your topic, and what background information you may want to include, either in the presentation or in a handout they can take home with them.
N ”“ Needs and Concerns. What do your listeners need from you? They are attending your presentation because they expect to get information that is relevant to THEM. If you can identify those needs and concerns succinctly, you’ll be able to develop your presentation in a way that ensures they get what they came for.
O ”“ Opinion and Attitude. If you understand the opinions and attitudes your listeners have towards your topic, then you will know if you need to focus on changing those opinions, or use them strategically to reinforce your message.
W ”“Who. Who specifically is going to attend your presentation? What are their names, titles, departments? Demographics? How many people will be there?
Even if you are delivering the same presentation to many different audiences, take the time to tailor it to align to each audience’s specific interests and concerns. The more you K.N.O.W. your audience, the more likely it is that they will pay close attention to your presentation and take the actions you are recommending.