Thursday, August 2, 2012

Presentation Writing Tip: Want to know your Audience? Put Yourself in their Shoes!

Presentation Writing Tip - Put Yourself in Their Shoes
What do action movies, a five-year old's birthday party, romance novels, and intense board room meetings all have in common? They all have very specific target audiences. People, by nature, group together under a banner of common likes, desires and needs.  Grabbing and holding a specific group's attention has been the business of media for centuries. But you may ask, what does that have to do with giving a presentation?

In a nutshell: Everything.

Knowing your audience dictates everything about your presentation, from the content, depth of scope, timing, tone and language.  

Let us pretend for a moment you are a new project manager for a real estate developer and at work one afternoon your boss leans against your desk and says, " I need you to give a fifteen minute presentation next week."
Your mind goes blank.  You haven't given a  presentation in years and you do not remember where to start. 

Don't panic, you just have to ask a critical question to get started on the right path.

"Who is my audience."

Let's assume your boss says," Potential buyers."

The image of families, cash buyers looking for an investment, first-time home buyers all come to mind.  You only have fifteen minutes, meaning you need to get to you key points--fast!  What are this group's needs and desires?

Put yourself in their shoes.  What would you want to know if you were a buyer?  Maybe the base price for all the models, their square-footage, lot size, cost of upgrades and incentives.  You may also want more information regarding the neighborhood, school district, local shopping and dining.  

But, let us rewind time and your boss says instead, "I want you to give a fifteen minute presentation to our investors."  
The investors needs and desires will be radically different than the buyers. 

What would you want to know if you invested money into the Jameson project?  Maybe the analysis of cost-over-profit, projected revenue, timelines of construction and percentage sold. Both presentations are given during the same time frame, but are vastly different because you tailored the presentation to fit the audience.

Taking a moment and pretending to be a member of your target audience will help you focus and find the key points to discuss for any presentation, regardless of the shoe size.

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