Or Who Should Adapt, Me or My Audience?
Universally I will tell you most people build a presentation or discussion around their point of view with the thought being you will “get it”. The problem is the other person is listening from a completely different perspective so they can’t even “hear” what you are saying. And thus the world spins around and around as you move nowhere.
So here are some ways to insure you and your audience connect:
1. You have more to lose than your audience if they don’t “get” what you are saying. This means 100% of the ownership falls on your shoulders, not theirs.
2. Think about the outcome desired and why it is relevant to that audience.
3. Speak from that perspective.
We had a client who was going to be speaking to builders at a convention. His company makes cabinets. His frustration was that in the past whenever he talked to the group the people attending who were window manufacture, plumbers or other areas didn’t listen to him because they had no interest in cabinets.
The next one he spoke at he came from the point of a tree. He had the group laughing, interacting and even had some window guys come up to him to see how they could collaborate and refer more business to his company.
So expect that the adaptation is done by you, not your audience when presenting.
Let me share with you what speakers DO that says to the audience “ADAPT TO ME”:
1. Continuing with PowerPoint slides when they see that their audiences’ eyes are glazed over. The point of a presentation is to get action. Anything less than that is unsuccessful. So STOP when you see that you have lost them and if you need to drop the PowerPoint, do it!
2. Taking Questions and saying, “I will get to that in a moment.” Essentially your audience has just told you that you did NOT give them a CLEAR ROADMAP so they knew what you were talking about and why. Hence they will then choose to interject their questions when it seems relevant to THEM. By saying “I will get to that in a moment” you are telling them “stop interrupting me and wait until I am ready to talk about that.” Start truly listening to your audience as they hold the power to make or break your presentation.
When you walk in to a room to present, the only person fully invested in the outcome is YOU. This means that YOU need to ALWAYS adapt to the audience and not expect them to adapt to you.
Remember that the point of a presentation is not to SHARE the information, it is to get your audience to ACT on what you say. Anything less than that you have to treat as a failure and then learn from it. Only then will you improve as a powerful speaker that connects with your audience at all levels.
About Anne Warfield
As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time. The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives. Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results! Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit www.impressionmanagement.com, or email