I was recently asked to give a presentation on marketing and communications for a national firm. The target audience has various levels of knowledge and experience within the organization. The presentation needed to have a practical component ensuring everyone would have a something to take away. To add a bit more complication, the group did not share a practice or to a large extent a client base.
No problems right? Many of us have been given similar assignments and have been able to come up with topics that we think would appeal to the audience.
I put together what I thought was a winning presentation highlighting areas that I considered important to the audience. I ran through it and it seemed to cover the main themes. Then it hit me – is this what they want to know or am I simply telling them what I know?
I am constantly talking to people about asking questions and coming up with solutions for clients problems yet when I started putting together this presentation I went in as the know it all rather than focusing on the audience. I wasn’t living up to my own mantra which really struck me.
I spent the next couple of days contacting a few key stakeholders that would be part of the audience. These leaders were able to help me focus the presentation on their needs which in fact changed how I was presenting the information. The overall content of the presentation didn’t change drastically but the approach did, the examples did, and the highlighted areas did.
The presentation likely would have been fine without me taking this extra step but by doing so the audience received a more customized presentation that had more impact.
It is funny how we don’t always listen to our own advice.