Without question one of the major contributors to the successful delivery of a speech is to have your audience all feel as if you are talking directly to them. The ability to connect at a “heart level” greatly increases the bond you have with your audience and leads to a well-received presentation.
Connect With Your Audience At A Heart Level
It does not matter if your speech is a keynote presentation or a platform selling situation. If you understand the demographics of your audience then you can better tailor your content in order to connect at a deeper level with the crowd.
So what types of information would you want to know in advance of a presentation about the audience that might help you do a better job? This list is not necessarily all-inclusive, but is a good starting point for you.
- Is your audience primarily male or female?
- What is the average age of the audience? Are you talking to teens, baby boomers, senior citizens, etc.?
- Where are the audience attendees from? Is it a local crowd, a regional gathering, national or international?
- What is their educational background?
- What type(s) of businesses are represented in the audience? (For example, you would not want to use a bunch of real estate examples if you are talking with a group of restaurant owners)
- Is it a G—PG—PG13—R—or “F Bomb” type of crowd?
- Have you delivered a presentation to this same audi- ence previously?
- If it is a multiple speaker event, who else is sharing the platform and what will they be talking about?
Much of this information should be available from the event pro- moter. Large events that have been held many times in the past also often have sponsorship packets that contain great demographic information about the attendees because they are trying to attract sponsorship money. But you can use this information also to learn more about the audience to which you will be speaking.
If you are delivering a keynote presentation, particularly to a single corporate client then you will want to do some research to try to figure out who the “movers and shakers” are within the audience. A great way to find this information is to simply call the main switch- board of the company for which you will be presenting. Explain you are delivering a keynote for them at their upcoming event and ask the gatekeeper about the key people who will be attending.
You would be amazed at the kind of information you can gather that will enable you to craft your presentation specifically for that company. When you have the ability to acknowledge key people in the audience during the course of your presentation you really can connect at a much deeper level.
Remember, the more that you can address the specific pain point(s) of the group you will be speaking to the more receptive your audience will be to your presentation. When they feel that you are talking directly to them you come across as much more professional because you have taken the time to truly understand their needs and to deliver information that will be of benefit to them.
And it does not matter if it is a keynote presentation or a platform selling situation. The “pain points” are the critical elements you must incorporate into your presentation. More specifically, your solution for those pain points is what will truly ingratiate you with your audience.
Do not hesitate to do some keyword research in advance of an event to try to find out what the questions are that are being asked online related to your topic. The more you can tie in the current things people are looking for solutions for to your presentation the better you will do.
Now, in a platform selling situation there are some additional pieces of information you will want to try to gather in advance that can greatly increase your chances of increasing your back- of-the-room sales. You will want to ask the event promoter these questions, but do not take the word of the promoter as “gospel.”
If you are speaking at an event that has been held previously you will want to find out who has spoken at the event previously and at what price point their offer was. Ask the promoter what was the price point of the speaker that had the most success at their last event and on what topic did they speak? In general, what price point gets the most action for that promoter’s events?
If you come in with a $2000 offer and the crowd has only been exposed to $500 price points in the past you, in most cases, greatly decrease your chances for success. Admittedly, sometimes it is difficult to get this information from the promoter. But if you explain you want to do the best job possible for them at the event they will usually understand and be as forthcoming as possible.
Another great source of information about what worked and did not work at previous events is from those people that provided testimonials for the last event. If you look at the promotional website for the upcoming event you will typically find testimoni- als from previous attendees. It is pretty easy to find these people online and ask them some questions about the event.
Also, once you have been around the speaker circuit for a while you will have speaking colleagues you have built a trust relation- ship with who are willing to share their experiences with you about working with different promoters. If you have a contract with an event promoter for an upcoming event (and you always should) then you will want to, if at all possible, incorporate some language into that contract that allows you the ability to adjust your offer and price point at the event if you see certain things are not working with other speakers. A reasonable promoter will be willing to work with you because they have a vested interest in your success also.
Knowing as much about your audience as possible before delivering a presentation seems like a no-brainer. But, you would be surprised at the number of speakers who are unwilling to take the time to get to know their audience in advance so they can fine tune their presentation for that audience.
Does it take a little bit of work? Of course, it does. But there may be some aspects of your audience marketing research that you can enlist the assistance of a support person to help you with. Whether you do it all yourself or whether someone helps you, the time invested in getting to know your upcoming audiences better will pay massive dividends for you over the long haul.
People definitely buy from those that they know, like and trust. And whether it is simply “buying” your message or whether it is about buying your product, your ability to craft a presentation that is laser-focused to the needs of your audience can only be done if you really know your audience well. And when you do that, your know, like and trust factor can grow exponentially.