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After deciding the purpose, make some decisions about your audience. Like any sales pitch or marketing piece, a lot of thought goes into who is receiving the message. Your presentation should be no different. We need to consider some refinements based on the people that we will be speaking to. This is more than just a simple demographic of age, gender, or income. This is about your audience's expectations, biases, emotions, needs, and wants. Here are some questions to ponder about your audience.
How long will their attention span be? Not everyone has all day to listen to you. They have orders to fill and emails to answer and decisions to make. You need to make sure your presentation delivers the message you need, while conveying the benefit to them in a timeframe that's respectful to the audience. That might mean getting right to the point or maybe you have time to build up a great story first. Whom do they trust? Different audiences trust different people. If your sales pitch is to the IT department in the morning and the HR department after lunch, consider adjusting your slides to show different testimonials for each audience.
What language do they speak? Let's suspect that different audiences have their own sets of three letter acronyms and code words. What one audience speaks fluently will need to be spelled out for another. Be careful with those abbreviations and terms that we might take for granted. Do they have any biases, emotions, or strong opinions that you'll need to address? It's not uncommon for an audience to attend with preconceived notions. Maybe they have already dismissed your product. Perhaps they think they've heard it all before or even that they know everything there is to know about your topic.
Consider these objections as you plan your presentation and address them. If you suspect they've heard bad things, your slideshow should address those things. Throw in testimonials from figures that they respect. If you suspect that they think they know it all, start with a fun quiz or facts that might take them for surprise. Whatever their bias is, be ready to tackle it head-on with confidence, and don't be shy around it. Knowing your audience will help you plan an effective slideshow. What if you have multiple audiences? Your best strategy is to plan for your first audience and then change it to each new audience as necessary.
Hopefully, you will only need to make minor tweaks, but do what it takes to ensure that the audience gets a custom presentation that gives you the results you want.
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