In order to be concise and authoritative, your audience needs to feel you are there to help them, not yourself. So this means you need to think about their needs first.
In sales, this means that you need to know what your audience is most concerned about. You can find this out several ways:
Visit their website. See what their top concerns and needs are by looking at their website from their eyes and their customers eyes. Find out their values, mission, philosophy, and how you can tie your talk to their beliefs and needs.
Get their annual report. Look for growth patterns, shortcomings, and how the CEO plans to address them.
Talk to people in the company, if possible, to find out their perspective and their needs. What things cause them stress and how could these stresses be eliminated by use of your product or service?
What do you know about the industry? Certain industries tend to be plagued by certain problems. The custom building industry is often frustrated by people who revise plans but then get surprised at the additional cost of closing. The commercial real estate industry is often frustrated by people offering to buy a building at a set price, and then after the building is inspected, they try to hit you up to lower your price for various reasons.
There are many things you either know about an industry or that you can accurately guess. Bring up these issues in the meeting and let the customer add their needs and comments.
In IT or Finance this means you need to know what the business unit’s concerns will be in regards to the numbers or technical information you are sharing.
For example, in finance, are you sharing the numbers because you want them to change the way they’re doing something? Do you want them to approve extra financing? Do you want them to know what’s happening with the financial numbers? Do you want to celebrate the corporation’s success?
Think about how your audience needs to use the information you share with them. Make it easy; keep it simple.
TAKE ACTION: Most books don’t tell you HOW to say it, they just tell you what to do. How To Become One With Your Audience, is part of a series of insightful, inspiring and invigorating question and answer style books customized from what executives around the world have been asking.
Anne Warfield has put together actual scripts that you can use to understand and connect with your audience.