I have a problem… no matter how much work I put into preparing for a presentation, my audience seem disinterested.
I spend hours rehearsing, where I am going to stand, warming up my voice and obsessing with the design of my slides. I work really hard but I don’t seem to achieve the connection with my audience.
Where am I going wrong?
You are not alone with this one – we see it day in, day out with a wide array of presentations.
The good news is that you recognise that it’s a huge privilege to present and that your audience are giving up their valuable time to listen to what you have to say. So many people fail to prepare properly for presentations, so it’s great to hear that you’re dedicating time to the opportunity.
The question is, are you focusing on the right stuff?! We implore you to focus your time and energy on your audience and what you want them to do as a result of your presentation, rather than how good you and your slides will look.
A key point to remember is that your audience are by far the most important stakeholder in any presentation, so we’ve come up with a couple of ideas to help you refocus your presentations…
Keep us posted on how your next presentation goes – if you follow our simple tips, we guarantee you will be reaping the rewards (and plaudits!) from your audience.
The Eyeful Team x
Simon Morton: Audience is absolutely key to any presentation. We’ve found ourselves in a peculiar situation as presenters, where we become really selfish and self-absorbed. We worry about how we’re going to stand, we worry about how we’re going to share our information, how vocally we’re going to get that information across. We obsess about our slides. We make sure that everything is as perfect as it possibly can be and we forget one thing, which is the audience.
The audience is by far the most important stakeholder in any presentation. And if you can really get into the head of your audience and think about what they want to achieve from this presentation, then you’re in a much better place than most presenters out there.
A presentation isn’t about you, it’s about your audience. It’s about making sure that you get your message across to them in a way that they can then take that, process it and do something with that information going forward. So, by not thinking about your audience really, really carefully, you’re already on the back foot.
We’ve come up with a couple of different ideas. One that is particularly successful is what we call an Audience Heatmap. And it really is a very quick sense check just to prompt you to think a little bit deeper about your audience.
And using this Audience Heatmap process, what it allows us to do is ask some simple questions of the presenter. They ask themselves those basic questions around what they want to achieve from it; why is the audience there? Why is the audience giving up their valuable time to listen to your presentation in the first place? That’s a really simple question to ask, but it puts you very much in the driving seat of creating a presentation that delivers really strong messages that are relevant and resonate with your audience. And frankly, that is what presentation’s all about.
Stay tuned for another presentation problem coming next week! If there is a specific problem that you are experiencing and you’d like a solution from Eyeful, just email your problem to firstname.lastname@example.org.