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Presenting the Same Information to Different Audiences
Many speakers and presenters find themselves trying to convey information about their area of expertise over and over again.
While some presenters lean into the experience, reintegrating their successes (and failures) until they have a tried-and-true talk, others begin to lose their flair for creativity and become complacent.
This, of course, leads to boring presentations and bored presenters.
In these cases, it’s important to remember that some aspects do change even if the information is roughly the same time after time. What changes, exactly? The audience, of course!
Below are a few techniques and tips for presenting the same information to different audiences; and why that is important for keeping talks fresh and engaging.
Focus on Audience’s POV
The first step of tweaking an existing presentation to match your audience is to think about your audience. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, it’s a tip that many presenters forego, which isn’t good news for them nor the audience.
Is your audience made up of newbies or folks who may be hearing this information for the first time?
If so, you’ll probably want to take some of your time to introduce the audience to important terms and concepts, as well as the history of your topic. Have a more experienced audience in front of you? Skip the basics and get right to “the juicy stuff.”
Things you’ll need to consider include the audience’s experience level, their ages, their backgrounds, and the ilk.
Oftentimes this information will be provided for you or can be obtained by talking to the conference, the office, the school, etc.
However, if you don’t have this information handy, you can poll your audience at the beginning of your talk and adjust your presentation from there.
This shouldn’t be too difficult if it’s a presentation you’ve performed time and time again.
Provide Actionable Advice
Once you have your audience figured out, you can provide tailored suggestions and recommendations. One of the primary reasons people attend presentations is to gain actionable insights relevant to their lives, education, or industry.
This is, even more, the case when the presenter is a veteran in their subject.
For expert lectures, Poll Everywhere recommends a presentation format akin to the ever-popular TED Talk series. The presenter is the star of the show—and therefore responsible for the entire presentation including the talking points, the flow, and all relevant media.
One of the benefits of this presentation format is that presenters are rarely derailed by questions and can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
To keep audiences glued to your every word, it helps to discuss real challenges that you have faced and solved!
This provides audience members actionable advice on how to tackle their own issues.
Take Lessons from Your Last Presentation
As mentioned in the introduction, some presenters reintegrate successes and failures from previous presentations into their future talks.
Admit it. Not everything about your talk is perfect. If it was, you wouldn’t be reading this article. But how do you know what is working and what isn’t?
One way is to poll the audience about what they liked or hated most about your presentation. This can be done at the end of your talk or in follow-up emails.
Then again, you can also simply watch your audiences to see how people react during certain sections of your talk.
If you notice people fidgeting in their chairs or checking their cell phones at the half-way mark, consider adjusting your presentation format.
Maybe you need to get people moving with some group work or interactive exercises. Or maybe you need to cut that section down a few minutes to hold everyone’s attention.
The more you pay attention to people’s conscious or unconscious feedback, the better you can tailor your presentation for the next audience.
Hopefully, these tips and techniques have rejuvenated your excitement for giving presentations, even if the information is roughly the same each time.
The key is experimentation. With practice and analysis, you can excite yourself and your audience time after time.