How to be clear on your audience expectations

Lady presenting at a conference

How clear are you on your audience expectaions?

A presentation, meeting or training course that doesn’t meet audience expectations can be a very disheartening experience.

We live in an extremely fast paced and busy world where most of us are overwhelmed with information.

When we give up some of our extremely valuable time to listen to someone share their ideas, we need to be absolutely certain that they will respect it. If you promise one thing but deliver something else, you will quickly lose peoples attention, trust and regard.

When audience expectations aren’t met it leads to disappointment and frustration

How many presentations have you attended where the speaker told you how much they know, have achieved and how great their company is but didn’t tell you how they can help you?

Perhaps you’ve been to one of those presentations which could have been given in at least half the time, or communicated just as effectively in an email.

Maybe you expected to learn something new in a presentation, only to sit patiently for 20 minutes hearing what you already knew or could easily have worked out for yourself.

How do you do meet audience expectations?

1. Be clear

If you’re going to get them to do an exercise then tell them in advance and be sure to tell them exactly why.

Don’t leave it for them to work it out or simply tell them that’s what you always do. Ask yourself why you are really doing it and what tangible difference it will make to them.

If you can’t come up with a really good answer then leave it out.

2. Don’t make them guess

Demonstrate how much you value their time by letting them know the rationale behind what you are sharing. Share its personal significance  and benefits to them.

Don’t make them guess or leave the room without a clue.

Just because you know, it doesn’t mean they can read your mind. If we set audience expectations well in advance we avoid the risk of them leaving the room feeling let down.

3. Know them

Find out as much as you possibly can about who they are and what help they need before you present to them.

Find out how they like to be presented to or prefer to learn. Don’t make assumptions.

4. Speak to them

Don’t just ask them what challenges they have.

Let them know up front why you believe your content, material, message and approach will help them. If it’s at all possible, try to speak with them before you begin crafting your presentation.

5. Do your homework

Just because you’ve been saying or doing the same thing for years, don’t assume that it works for everyone.

We are all different; do your homework and establish in advance whether what you have to offer will be of value to your audience. If you believe it won’t then be honest and tell them. Whilst we don’t like turning business away we have declined to work with some clients over the years because we don’t believe we can help them.

6. Craft  a conversation

If someone challenges you or asks a question, don’t just tell them that’s the way it is and ask them to simply accept it. Open up a meaningful conversation.

7. Keep your promise

Give them what they’ve asked for and what you’ve promised.

Don’t pad  your presentation out.

If you promise to help them feel more confident whilst presentin then give them the tools to do so.

If you need help managing audience expectations:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

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