Like all audiences your CPD presentation will be delivered to a real mix of audience types. Chances are that because you’re delivering a technical presentation your audience is likely to be more technical than most.
With this in mind, how can you best engage them?
We’ve identified five key steps to ensure that you get the most out of engaging a technical audience.
Step One – We’re all different
First things first: recognise that there are different types of audience. At Eyeful we’ve identified three key audience personas, and simply being aware of these will have a huge positive impact on the way you deliver the information and the pace at which the presentation is shared with your audience.
At a very high level, the audience is likely to be a mixture of Factual, Visionary and Emotional. The Factual element within your audience will be made up of people looking for the detail behind a lot of the information that you’re sharing. They want the information delivered in a very matter-of-fact way (if you could present to these people using an Excel spreadsheet, they’d be more than happy!) You then have the Visionary element – they are looking at the big picture, so are not necessarily interested in the detail behind each of your points. The combination of all of those points, however, allows them to identify how the information that you’re sharing can support a larger, more strategic plan. Finally, there’s the Emotional element within an audience. That could be positive (they’re looking forward to understanding more about your particular area of expertise) or they could be there simply for the CPD points and are attending under duress. Each element will have an impact on how you engage with your audience. Simply recognising that you have different audience types automatically puts you in a much stronger position going forward. More information around what we term ‘Audience Heatmapping’ is available on our website.
Step Two – It’s more than just slides
With a technical audience, it is important to embrace what we call ‘Blended Presenting’. Feel free to step away from PowerPoint occasionally. Offer handouts, give people the ability to work in groups to process and understand the implications of the information you’re sharing with them.
Step Three – Test understanding
Great presentations are a two-way street, so embrace audience participation. It keeps your audience on track, keeping them engaged and allowing you to test their understanding. Remember – the more technical the information, the higher the risk of certain members of your audience getting lost.
Step Four – Make it real
Take the information you’re sharing and use real life applications to demonstrate how this technology can be used to assist them in their daily jobs. Case studies are a wonderful way of helping a technical audience apply the information that you are sharing with them.
Step Five – Don’t be scared of questions
Questions are a sign that your audience is engaged, so embrace them! If they weren’t interested, frankly they wouldn’t ask any questions. Throw rhetorical questions out to your audience to spark conversation, and, when the debate starts, make the most out of it in the knowledge that your technical audience is truly engaging with your message and content.
Technical audiences can be challenging, but they can also be the most rewarding to take on a presentation journey. We wish you the very best of luck!