Are you presenting soon? – 6 things your audience really need from you

What do you need?

Your audience really need 6 things from you each time you present.

In 1943, Abraham Maslow released a psychology paper called, ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’.

The theory suggests we each live by 6 fundamental human needs.

Physiological: what we need for survival

Safety: what we need to feel safe and secure

Love and belonging:  a need to feel loved

Esteem: a need to be accepted and valued

Self-actualization: a need to reach our fullest potential

Self-Transcendence: the need for a higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality

This hierarchy still remains extremely popular today

It has its place in high impact presenting and public speaking too.

Tony Robbins, a recognized authority in the psychology of leadership and motivation presents a similar hierarchy.

His has a colourful, contemporary twist

Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure

Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli

Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed

Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something

Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding

Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others

Whether you prefer Maslow’s or Robbins’ view of the world, I’m mindful of how these needs apply to both presenters and audiences alike.


The moment you begin to speak, your audience needs a level of assurance, comfort and certainty that you:

– Have something of value to share with them

– Know what you are talking about

– Will respect and value their time

–  Get straight to the point and keep to it

– Will connect with them emotionally as well as intellectually

– Intend to solve a problem for them, create an opportunity or at least clarify something for them


This is probably the most onerous challenge for even the most experienced presenter.

It conflicts with the need for certainty.

Many business presentations today lack a point of differentiation.

It’s worth thinking about how you can surprise your audience a little.

You can do that by:

–  Making your presentation interactive and asking them questions.

–  Telling them stories (relevant ones).

–  Not reading slides to them.

–  Getting them to stand up and physically do something.

–  Asking them to turn to someone, or simply raise their hands.

–  Being excited and passionate about what you are sharing.

– Playing music, using humour, props, videos, polling your audience, etc.


Your audience want to feel important.

The key to mindful presenting is remembering that your presentation is all about your audience, not you.

It’s our job as presenters to make our audience feel as if they are the only people that matter in that moment.

We each have an innate desire to be recognised, respected and appreciated.

– Ensure that your content is mindfully crafted and exclusively for your audience.

– Prepare consciously with empathy and humility.

– Get to know as much as you can about your audience.

– Put yourself in their shoes


At Mindful Presenter our tagline is ‘connecting is everything’

Your audience want to feel connected to you and your message.

Making that connection is not as difficult as it may seem.

You can begin by:

–  Talking about what your audience needs to hear, not what you want to say.

–  Being open, personal and even a little vulnerable; show them who you really are.

–  Telling them stories they can relate to that illustrate your point and bring it to life.

– Having a sense of humour and not taking yourself too seriously.

– Making genuine and sincere eye contact.

– Smiling.


Your job as a presenter is to help your audience to grow in some way.

That coul be a growth in:

– Knowledge

– Understanding

– Insight

– Appreciation

– Results


Most presentations are designed to inspire or initiate some form of action.

We normally want our audience to do something.

Don’t let your ending  fizzle out  like a damp firework.

Don’t leave your audience wondering why they just sat through the last 20 minutes.

Tell them exactly what you want them to do with the ideas or information presented to them.

Contrary to popular belief, most audience are not only happy to but expect you to have them do something.

If they have connected with you and your message they will welcome the idea of contributing in some way.

Make it clear how they can contribute and how you can to help them to do so.

Watch Tony Robbins elaborate on the 6 human needs in this TED Talk, ‘Why we do what we do’.

Consider carefully how these may apply to your audience at your next presentation.

If you are presenting soon and need help with your audience impact:

– 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

Image: Courtesy of

Share this article

Leave a comment

Download our Free Guide

Sign up for our newsletter and download your free guide to authentic public speaking.

When you sign up, you’ll get a link to our free guide, plus helpful public speaking articles posted on our site. You can unsubscribe at any time.