Executive Presence: Bring your message to the audience

How well do you know your audience?

How well do you know your audience?

One common complaint about business presentations is that they are dull. Many executives that I coach have a tendency to deliver content-focused presentations rather than audience-focused ones. Content-focused means a heavy emphasis on your material and is often accompanied by the presenter reading off the slides. We learned above how to turn numbers into stories. Let’s make the next connection.

Being audience-focused requires the presenter to bridge the gap between content and the audience’s motivations. Invest time to learn more about senior managers’ needs, drives and trigger topics. Does one manager always focus on financial returns? Another on resource deployment. Perhaps another always challenges you? You can then use connecting phrases to address these motivations. Examples include: “Last quarter you expressed a concern on our raw material costs. Here is the new picture.”

Another technique is to use connecting questions, like “Why is this important? “ This rhetorical question allows you to then move onto the answer. “This is important to our business unit because.. “ This technique helps connect more with the audience by focusing your message on their motivations.

Spent an hour before your next presentation to learn more about your audience. What can you learn about your audience that will help you connect your message to them in a more favourable way. People are interest-driven. Find their interests and you will find a more responsive audience.

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