The art of internal communication is often about ensuring that you share a core message across your organisation in a consistent manner.
Unfortunately, the net result of this aim is that internal presentations often become very ‘safe’ – a bit grey, and let’s be brutally honest, often quite boring.
Yet, faced with the wide range of audiences that you need to engage with, this ‘safe and boring’ approach can quickly become an inevitability by tying yourself to a standard set of slides that are going to be delivered in a very standard way…
Here at Eyeful we believe very strongly in the need for presenters to tweak their presentations to align themselves with the needs, interests and learning styles of different audiences.
A senior, slightly greying baby boomer audience, is a very different beast to a group of fresh-faced millennials – trying to create a presentation where one size fits all, frankly, is an exercise in futility.
So, we’ve identified five key steps to help you tweak and amend your presentations for different audiences, while still retaining that all-important focus on a simple core and consistent message.
Step One – Know your topic (intimately)
Yes, it’s blindingly obvious, but for this to succeed, you really, really have to know your topic. By having an intimate understanding of every nuance of your topic, you’re able to speak with real authority in a range of different vernaculars in line with your audience, whilst ensuring the core message never changes. Confidence ensures consistency.
Step Two – Embrace the landscape
It’s important to recognise what we at Eyeful term the ‘Presentation Landscape’. Sometimes your presentation environment will be very formal; they will be one-way lectures where you present and your audience listens, whilst other engagements will be a lot more conversational and interactive. They may even be quite informal, shared over a coffee in the form of a conversation. You need to ensure that your message and visuals (not always in PowerPoint form) are at your fingertips to assist you in delivering your presentation in the most appropriate and engaging way.
Step Three – ‘Blended presenting’ works
Step away from the PowerPoint and embrace other ways of visually communicating. This might be drawing a simple visual on a whiteboard or having a printed handout that supports your message and can be used either as a leave-behind or as the basis of the conversation you are having, where you leaf through in tandem with the audience.
Step Four – Ask questions
What would help your audience get the most out of your internal presentation? What lessons can be learned from previous examples that went well (and those that maybe didn’t go so well)? Also, ensure you have a formal follow-up process. By having this in place, you put yourself in a position of ensuring that the information you share is as fresh, relevant and engaging for your audience as possible.
Step Five – Step away from the technology
If you’re looking at your audience, unsure where to go next, our advice would always be, ditch the slides and simply talk from a position of knowledge and experience. By knowing your core message as intimately as you should do, you can still communicate clearly and consistently when gremlins strike – the projector dies – or if it becomes obvious that your audience is turned off by PowerPoint slides. Speaking directly and authentically ensures you connect in a way that is both engaging and valuable to your audience.
We hope these tips and insights help and wish you the very best of luck with your next internal presentation.