When preparing to give any presentation be it a live in person event or a webinar, it’s important to know who the audience is that are attending. Even if you already have a specific presentation in mind, that you’ve previously create, it’s still always important to understand who the audience is who you will be presenting to. This allows you to adjust the presentation and the language that you use to better meet your audience.
Your audience is interested in solutions to problems, they want to know answers to their key questions, mainly “What’s in it for me?” Your presentation needs to be structured to answers why this is important, what it means to your audience, what makes you qualified to answer this, why they should care about it and what exactly your audience should do about it.
Brainstorm to get a More Focused Presentation
If you want to have a more focused presentation, you need to come up with a focused topic. When brainstorming your presentation you always start with a brain dump. You literally dump out everything you know about the topic of interest. The idea here is not to worry whether or not this information is relevant to your final presentation the whole aim is to dump out as much information as possible so that you can look at it in its entirety.
A great way to do this is to create a mind map of all of the information. Or you might like to locate pictures to associate with each idea (visual representation), or you might print out the information, write it down. It doesn’t how you choose to do it, just get all of the information out that you know about the topic in some form or another.
Plan and Organize your Presentation
Once you’ve emptied out the knowledge closet, it’s time for some form of organization. This means pulling together the outline of your presentation. Try to visually put all the information you have about the topic in some sort of logical order which could be by importance of facts or even chronologically. You are the presenter so just do with what feels right for you and you still shouldn’t start cutting items, assume everything is staying in the presentation for the time being and just get them into some sort of order.
Personally I like to do this without a computer as I find it easier and less distracting, I love to use pictures to visually represent the specific items I think I should discuss. By putting these together on a whiteboard (I stick them on with blue tack) you will start to identify extraneous information that takes away from your core focus points, which is for the audience “What’s in it for me?”
Now that you have everything out in the open and organized, it’s time to bring some real focus to the proceedings. First, know exactly what you want the outcome of the presentation to be, what do you want your audience to come away with? Set yourself as specific a goal as you can and remember your audience wants you to solve a problem they have. Once you understand what your outcomes are simply take out anything that doesn’t add to these goals. You should also ask yourself if each point of your presentation addresses the core message you are trying to portray to your audience. If it does keep it, if it doesn’t toss it out.
You should also discard any information that might make your audience feel uncomfortable or stupid, such as giving a definition they already know, or worse still assuming they know something when in fact they don’t. Leave is as much educational information as your audience needs, this is why knowing your audience is so important in creating a highly focused presentation.
If you know your audience well, and you should, you’ll know what roadblocks are causing your audience issues and stopping them taking action? You should also know about your audiences values. By addressing these roadblocks (fears) and values during your presentation you will get more action, better results and your audience will come away knowing you really delivered something special.
If you are using something like PowerPoint to create the visuals for your presentation, try to avoid the typical bullet point-ridden boring templates that most people seem to use. Instead, consider using photos, quotes, stats, and lots of whitespace to give your audience a focal point. It’s also worth pointing out that you should not simply overload your slides with too much information, give your audience a focal point but not a distraction from the words that you are speaking.
Practice Makes Perfect
You know that everything is better with practice so stand up (literally) and deliver your presentation as if you are in front of your audience. If you can do this in front of focus group of your friends, do so to get them to help you stay focused and practice.
You need to find a way to relate to your audience right away, you can do this by the way you dress, your mannerisms and your words. If you know who your audience is and created the presentation that focuses on your audiences core needs, in regard to the topic at hand you’ll have an awesome presentation.
Just like every piece of content you create, a presentation should be narrowly focused towards the needs of a specific audience, taking into account their particular problems and offering them a solution.