Appeal to Any Audience You’ll Ever Present To
How to get to know your audience and compel them to listen to you.
We’re about to break down one of the most crucial elements that can make any talk successful. It’s going to sound really simple, yet it’s something that so many speakers either forget to do, or are just too lazy to even bother with.
Don’t be one of those speakers!
Instead…get to know your audience!
This is one of the best investments you can make with your time, and here’s why.
There will be points in your speaking career when you’re going to be asked to present at an event where the audience might be a group of people you’re not particularly used to speaking for. Perhaps they’re in an industry you’re not all that familiar with, or they might have interests that aren’t exactly aligned with what you’re used to presenting on.
When this is the case (and even when it’s not), it’s incredibly important to take the time to learn about your audience.
As humans, we’re really not interested in things that aren’t important to us. There’s no shame in that, it’s just how humans are wired. So as a speaker, when you get on stage and start talking about something that’s incredibly important to you, but not necessarily to your audience, chances are you’ll lose them before you even start. Just because it’s important to you doesn’t mean it’s important to them.
When you get on stage and start talking about something that’s incredibly important to you, but not necessarily to your audience, chances are you’ll lose them before you even start.
This results in the type of presentations where people get distracted on their phones, start counting the ceiling tiles or dozing off into dreamland. They have no reason to be engaged with something that they simply don’t want to engage with. Next thing you know, you miss out on the opportunity to rebook a similar event and there goes an opportunity lost. All because you didn’t care to research who you were speaking to.
On the other hand, there are events where a speaker gets on stage and presents a topic that is of no interest at all to the people in that room, and yet by the end of the talk those people are captivated and engrossed. They want to know more about the topic that they initially thought they weren’t even interested in. Why?
Here’s an example…
The founder of Speaker Nation, Eric Edmeades, was once asked to speak at a business and marketing seminar. However, his presentation was to be about health. How was he going to make business people interested and engaged in a talk about health? He started by doing his research.
He showed up to the seminar a couple days before he was supposed to be on stage. He took the time to walk around and talk to the people he was eventually going to present to. Through this, he learned what was important to them, why they were there, and what they wanted to learn about.
What he discovered was, of course, the majority of them had little interest in health. This was no surprise. It’s fair to say that many entrepreneurs are so focused on their business they forget that their business is useless if their health fails.
So when it came to Eric’s presentation day, he got on stage and didn’t tell the audience he was going to talk about health. Instead, he said, “I’m going to share a system that will help you increase your productivity, your profits and your abilities to lead your team.” He continued, “I’m going to make sure you’re getting more done and you’re thinking clearly.”
Do you think these business owners were interested? Of course they were!
All because Eric took the time to design his talk in a way that made his content important to them, rather than just something important to him.
Once he had his audience engaged, he was able to segue from telling them all about how he could help their business and make them more money, to why their health is an important factor too. He tied it all together by saying things like, “If you don’t have your health where it needs to be, you are making a fraction of the amount of money that you could be making. If your health is not dialed in, you’re probably sleeping more than you need to and therefore not thinking very clearly. This affects your leadership abilities.” A beautiful transition into the topic of health at a business and marketing seminar.
Eric took the time to find out what mattered to his audience. He discovered the problems they were having, and shared his content in a way that spoke to those problems.
You have two choices as a speaker. You can walk on stage and think that you’re somehow more important than the people in the audience, and just deliver a talk without caring about the people you’re delivering it to. Or you can take the time to learn what is important to the people in the audience and create a talk that will actually benefit and resonate with them.
You can walk on stage and think that you’re somehow more important than the people in the audience…Or you can take the time to learn what is important to the people in the audience.
Commit to investing a portion of your preparation time into getting curious about your audience. Put their needs and interests ahead of yours, and watch your speaking career really take off.
Learning to speak to your audience in a way that resonates with their interests is perhaps one of the most important skills you can develop as a speaker, but there are a number of tips we could give you that will really help take your speaking from being average to outstanding. We have compiled a list of tips from our favorite professional speakers, and we want to share them with you!