Every time a group of people collect to hear a speaker they are all thinking the same things. And the list generally consists of: Please don’t bore me! I wonder what’s for lunch? Did I lock the back door when I left home this morning? Gee, that guy in the second row is cute! How long is this going to take? Please – make it relevant to me and my problems. To improve your presentation skills, the only three things that you can influence as a speaker are the first and last two.

To improve your presentation skills, here are 3 ways to tailor your message to suit your audience when preparing for your next presentation.

1. Do your homework

It makes sense – the more you know about your audience the more you can tailor your information and deliver it in a way to suit them. Questions to ask yourself include: What is their level of knowledge on this subject? What is their learning style? What is their attitude towards me? What motivates this audience? What type of job do they have? What other priorities do they have?

2. Meet and greet

Meeting and greeting audience members as they enter the room achieves two purposes. First it reduces your nerves as you are able to move, chat and focus on them rather than you. Secondly you are able to gauge the mood of the group and get a feel for their needs and priorities.

3. Address the elephant

As a speaker you need to have a strong objective and be clear about what you want the audience to do, say, think or feel. But all this will fall on deaf ears if you don’t address the burning issues that the audience has. I remember years ago when I first started my business, walking into a room full of angry looking people sitting with their arms crossed and scowls on their faces. I started by saying “Hmmmm – you don’t look happy to be here. Who was forced to attend this training today?” I wasn’t surprised when every hand shot up. This enabled me to focus on why they weren’t looking forward to the training and to address their concerns rather than plowing on and pretend everything was fine.


Someone once said “People don’t care about how much you know ’till they know how much you care.” By focusing on the audiences needs you are ensuring that your presentation skills are exemplary and the presentation is relevant and of value.

Sharon Ferrier
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All Good Presentations Start With a Confident Speaker

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