Connecting With Your Audience is Key to Speaker Success

Anthony Caliendo Speaker, Author

Connect With Your Audience

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As a sales professional and a sales speaker and trainer, it’s critical that I understand my audience so that I can deliver my message in a tone and style that clicks with my listeners. Whether I’m the keynote speaker at a conference of hundreds or delivering a sales presentation to a boardroom of 5, connecting with my audience is key to assuring my message is heard and remembered.

Don’t assume your audience is just like you: and don’t assume your audience is like every other group you’ve spoken to.

3 Tips to Understand Your Audience

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1. Do Your Homework
Before your presentation, go online and find out everything you can about the people you’ll be presenting to. Understand their common goals, needs and interests so you can tailor your presentation content, tone and style to that audience.

  • If you’re speaking to an association or industry group, check out their website, Google them, research their industry and competitors so you understand their goals and challenges.
  • When presenting to a company after visiting their website, scroll through their past year’s social media posts, and search each social media channel for mentions of the company.
  • Ask the meeting planner or person who scheduled your presentation for some background information on the group you’re speaking to.

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2. Know Your Location
If you’re traveling to give your presentation, study up on the local culture, events and news. Plan your time so you can greet attendees as they enter the room, and have some background information to engage in casual conversation.

  • If your audience is comprised of locals, demonstrate that you are interested in them and what they care about.
  • When you and the attendees have traveled for a meeting, relate to the fact you’re all on a tight travel schedule with a hectic conference agenda – and want to find time to enjoy the local cuisine and scenery!

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3. Ask Audience Questions
As part of your planning have two versions of your presentation planned:

  1. Expert Level: Your audience is already very familiar with your topic, product or service and will be bored and insulted by a low-level presentation.
  2. Introductory Level: The attendees are new to your topic and need to be oriented to the language, features and background info on your topic.

You (hopefully) have spoken to the meeting planner to understand the attendees and their goals, but by talking to the audience directly at the start of your presentation you’ll quickly assess if your expectations are correct. A well-prepared speaker must be ready to switch gears at the start of their presentation and adjust to the knowledge level and seniority of the group.

It’s vital that you understand your audience for your presentation to be well-received, remembered and to motivate action. Invest time to research your audience before and during your presentation to make your speech valuable for you and the attendees.

a version of this article first appeared on LinkedIn

about Anthony Caliendo:
I’m an entrepreneur and sales professional with over 20 years of successful sales and sales management experience. My expertise in sales, marketing and business development spans from small business to international companies.

I’m the best-selling author of The Sales Assassin: Master Your Black Belt in Sales, winner of the 2015 USA Book News business book award for entrepreneurs and small business.

I provide personal sales coaching; and consult, speak and train about growing and motivating your sales team to businesses, corporations and conferences across the nation, as well as a guest contributor and sales expert for TV and radio, and professional organizations.