Before getting on stage to give your presentation, or even before you make your slides, you need to get to know your audience as well as possible. You would be surprised about what there is to know about them by just asking yourself a couple of basic questions. You want to be the best possible presenter for that particular audience, true right? Hereby the basic questions that you need to ask yourself. Remember: all of the following matters! Don’t worry, they are really simple!
Who is the audience? Everyone in your audience has a certain background. I’m not asking of you to screen everyone in the audience, that’s a relief you might think, but in general you need to know this. Before you even start designing your slides it’s always a good question to ask yourself because everyone brings some sort of background information with them about the topic you’re going to tell them something about. If you have completely figured out who your audience is you know, for instance, the level of detail your presentation is going to be in.
What is the purpose of the event? Presentations can be given for different purposes. The content of your presentation (story and slide design) differs as well. If the presentation is purely to inspire, your visuals should be more ‘flashy’ and you generally use more photo material. If the audience is more looking for concrete practical information, your slides will also include photo material but also more text (please, don’t overdo this). If your presentation has a lot of practical information try to think of an handout.
Why were you asked to speak? Why is it that they invited you to speak. What makes you stand out amongst all the others? What do they expect from you? Do they think you are some sort of guru or just a nice human being? Can you blow the audience their minds away on the topic you’re going to tell something about?
Where is it? This sounds, even as the last question below, a bit silly… but it’s not! Actually the where- and when question are really important and are crucial for your preparation. Find out everything you can about the location and logistics of the venue. What type of equipment is available on the spot. Do they have a podium. How far is the public away from me? This is important in order to come up with the size of your chosen font and how loud your voice should be (microphone or not?). Etcetera…
When is it? Preparing a presentation takes a lot of time depending on how well you know your story and how experienced you are. Do you have enough time to prepare? What time of the day is it? And probably the most important, what is the order of speaking (only apply when there are more presenters). If there are more speakers you should always volunteer to go first or last! This way you’re story will stick!