As a speaker, teacher, meeting leader, have you ever been in the front of the room talking and lookout at a sea of blank stares? Their quizzical looks just beg the question“Why are you here and when will you stop talking?” I have and it’s about as fun as medieval torture. In fact when I found myself in that situation, I felt like I was putting each and every one of those people on the rack.
I was the last presenter of a two-day conference asked to present on changing consumer demographics to a group of business peoplewho never dealt with consumers nor cared about their demographics. Did I mention that I was the LAST presenter?
It was an audience analysis fail! A communication fail! I wasn't effective at all and I was keeping them from catching their plane.
It could have been prevented if I would have asked myself three simple questions before I stepped on that stage.
1 1. Who are these people?
When speaking, Google is your first line of defense to understand your audience. Visit the organizations website, read their blog and read industry news. The more you know about the audience, the more you are able to connect and establish rapport with the audience.
2 2 . Why are they here?
It’s imperative to find out all you can about the event you are speaking at. Does it have a theme? What are the other speakers talking about? Ask Why they wanted you to speak? What was appealing to them about your message?You want to make a connection to the theme or other people’s talks. The Conference organizer should be able to help you with the answers. If you knowpeople who belong to the organization, ask them. Tap your social network for help.
3. What are their challenges?
The third question is the most important question, most speakers are asked to give talks because there is some type of a problem. CraigValentine calls these pain points. What is the pain point, you've been hired to relieve. Solving this problem is critical in building a trusting relationship with the audience.
If I would have found out more about my audience and realized that there problem was that they did NOT understand the consumer who is the end user of their products, then I could have created a more meaningful,impactful presentation instead of creating a room full of dread.
Now that you’ve done your research, how do you know if you were successful in reaching your audience? Next week is getting feedback from your audience
How do you get to know your audience and cultivate a relationship with them in order to communicate? Please share your thoughts here or on Facebook!