How to prepare for a business presentation

Understanding who your audience is is essential, and all High-Performance Presentations consider the audience and what they want. Having said that, many of the business professionals we train admit they hardly ever consider the audience during their presentation planning – at least, until they learn about why it is so important from us!

It is important to balance out your needs with the needs of the audience. If you want to communicate in a successful, persuasive manner that inspires action, then the audience should never feel that your agenda is higher than theirs! This links back to the push vs. pull concept mentioned in Chapter 1 of Dee’s book High-Performance Presentations – Public Speaking Tips & Presentation Skills to Engage, Persuade and Inspire

As Dee says: “A sure-fire way to give a Low-Performance Presentation is to just talk about your agenda with no regard to the audience. Avoid recycling the same presentation deck and droning on about things that aren’t relevant to the audience. The audience won’t say anything – but therein lies the danger as you continue to do it again and again.”

The first step is to recognise your preferred presenter personality style and then to adapt to the styles that aren’t the same as yours. The audience will take information on board in a different way to you – make sure you give the audience what they want in the manner in which they want it.

For example:

  1. Results preference – they like to know immediate options and consequences and are most comfortable with a fast tempo.
  2. Sociable preference – they like to interact at high speed and with variety. They become bored with details and enjoy constantly changing direction. They will enjoy interactive exercises.
  3. Caring preference – you will need to demonstrate that you are caring, trustworthy and open. Show that you can support them in their personal needs and those of their team.
  4.  Information preference – they will be won over by orderliness, accuracy, persistence and follow-through, so ensure that you use data, facts and quotations to support your presentation. Exact numbers, facts, spelling, grammar and even punctuation are all important here.

In reality, your audience is likely to be made of a mix of these styles so pay special attention to the areas you tend to be weakest!

In the book, there are more exercises that will help you ensure your Audience Preparation stage goes well before you move on to learn about using the Simply Amazing Structure (SAS). And all this is way before even touching a PowerPoint presentation or PC!

Why not try our quiz to see how you currently present?

Dee Clayton

Posted by Dee Clayton on 7 Nov 2018

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