If message is king, then the audience is its emperor.

If message is king…

…then the audience is the emperor.

We’ve said this before and will say it many more times.  Yes, chart design and image selection should be based on your content.  But your content should be based on your audience.  People are bombarded with information constantly; much of what doesn’t interest them.  So, think about it, what will make someone want to listen to you?

A quickie checklist to put yourself in your audiences shoes:

  • Why have they asked you to speak?  Don’t be afraid to ask them what they want from you.
  • What is the overall theme of the meeting you’ve been asked to be part of?  Don’t be afraid to learn more about the curator’s vision.
  • What challenges is your audience currently facing?  Ask them.  Do a news search on-line.  Read their annual reports, etc.  Pay attention to little comments in casual conversation.
  • What language do they speak?  (think beyond basic language.  Also think corporate, visual, etc.)
  • How does your audience learn?  Should you be included experiential exercises, hand-outs, more visuals, demonstrations, etc?  Ask them how they typically do trainings/presentations and ask them how effective it is.

In a world where everything is increasingly self-centered, you’ll be more distinctive if you make it all about your audience.

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