When preparing a presentation, it’s tempting to make it all about you; to wonder how you’ll be perceived by the group, and try to come across as cool, confident and competent. This is natural.
But effective communication isn’t about being the ‘star’ of the show. It’s about understanding your audience – their needs, their challenges, their desired outcome – and adding value to the discussion.
Your intention and outcome must be about your audience. Every. Single. Time. And often that may mean getting your message across at the expense of your personal feelings.
Because as soon as you think about things from their perspective, you’re in the best position to capture their attention, build audience engagement, influence with authority, and reach an outcome that everyone sees value in.
Know the outcome
The best public speakers have one thing in common: they always consider the outcome from their participants’ perspective.
So how do you ensure your outcome is all about your audience? Simply answer these questions when planning your presentation:
- How do you want the audience to feel?
Inspired, disturbed, confident, convinced?
- What do you want the audience to think?
What is the knowledge, ideas and information they will take away?
- What do you want them to do?
Is there an action they should take? Do you want a behaviour changed?
- What do you want them to commit to?
What do you want them to agree to? How can they take the agreed action?
Set the Why Frame
Now let’s look at something we call the ‘why frame’. Your audience will walk into the room wondering why:
- Why should I listen to this?
- Why is this going to make any difference to me?
- Why is this going to add value to my life?
- Why is this going to make any impact on the way that I might do things?
As a strong communicator, your job is to answer these questions and be explicitly clear up-front about the intention of the meeting.
You need to create relevance and show your audience that what you share is valuable and worthwhile. They are then intellectually engaged and feel compelled to contribute to the conversation.
And when you do this, you take your audience on a learning journey towards the outcome.
Find out more about the why frame in this post.
Want more public speaking tips, so you can influence and build rapport with clients, colleagues and senior leaders? Then join Colin James and Erica Bagshaw in the Mastering Communication Program.