Give Yourself the Best Chance of Success Before You Speak
In the last blog (How to Connect With Your Audience When You Speak – Part 1), you read about the Pre-Event Questionnaire. This is a good start, but you can go deeper.
Obtain more insight into the organization. Ask the meeting planner for the names of at least five audience members whom you can interview. These people will give you more information about individual needs within the organization. The following examples will help you. You’ll better understand specific problems and dreams of the audience:
1) Tell me about your typical day.
2) What is the biggest challenge you face at work?
3) Describe your ideal work day?
4) What would help you be more productive?
5) Imagine you’re in charge of this organization for 24 hours. What would you do to improve company performance?
How Will These Questions Help?
The answers uncover the most important and pressing issues faced by each audience. Many speakers give ‘canned presentations.’ They don’t use examples specific to that organization or highlighting specific members of the audience. It’s like going to a doctor who prescribes the same medicine to every patient she sees.
Some speakers are concerned that members of the organization won’t be comfortable talking with them. This is rarely a problem. Keep in mind that the meeting planner will find individual to talk with you.
Once you have a list of people to talk with, it’s important to remind each that your conversation is confidential, that it’s designed to give the most beneficial presentation, and that the individual was specifically chosen because of his or her unique perspective.
How to Use Their Responses to Tailor Your Message
Once you’ve completed your interviews, look for common concerns, complaints and positive statements. These commonalities will resonate with most, if not all of the group. It also lets them know that you cared enough to do your homework.
Tailoring your message around the responses will help you stand out from other presenters. It will increase your chances of being-rehired. You’ll also be more quickly referred to other organizations.
An Example of How it Works When You Speak
A few years ago, I was preparing my program ‘Ignite Your Passion…Take Action!’ The audience was a group of home-based child care providers. I learned that their biggest challenge was feeling alienated every day.
Because of their feedback, I changed the presentation. It included an activity that fostered the development of support systems. The activity was enthusiastically received. It helped make the event a success. It also helps me every time I speak to other groups.
The Cost of Not Doing This Work
Without doing pre-event homework, I would’ve missed an opportunity. I learned a fundamental challenge of the audience members. If I hadn’t, the presentation wouldn’t have been as beneficial.
By interviewing audience members, you can tailor your material. This enables you to craft a message that resonates with the audience. It makes a positive difference in their lives and increases the likelihood that you’ll Stand OUT! when you Stand Up.
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