know your audience

How well do you know your audience?

What steps do you take to know your audience?
What motivates your team, what are they thinking about? What are they worried about?

  • For an internal presentation.
  • Attending an internal meeting.
  • Giving an external presentation.
  • Holding a meeting with business partners, prospects or customers.
  • Pitching an idea. Getting a loan or funding.

You can read any of a large set of sales materials that give lots of ideas for questions to ask ahead of time. The most useful are open-ended question–what, why, who, where, and when (and sometimes how). Then of course more listening less talking.

You might be asking, why should I know my about audience when I’m presenting product or services issues?

To know your audience has to do with effectiveness. Will your messages and pitch be received in the best possible way by those that can affect your success? Avoid missing the mark with the presentation because you become too self focused.

Are you presenting for yourself? Or presenting to accomplish something?

This is first question to ask yourself. What do I want out of this meeting or presentation?

If it is some personal gratification issue then stop. Rethink it. You may not need to do the presentation at all.

If it is gain support for an idea, pitch an idea to gain resources or money, then be very clear about why.

Know your audience.

5 must do steps to know your audience and prepare yourself.

  1. Identify the players attending the presentation or meeting that can affect the outcome you want.
  2. Identify goals or directional focus of each of the players as best you can.
  3. List out  behavior patterns you can determine either first hand or from someone else who knows them.
  4. Think through these behavior patterns and the directional goals. Assign best guess motivations. Use motivations like aesthetic, economic, independent, political, altruistic, rules, knowledge.
  5. Think through these patterns and assign best guess perspectives like empathetic, practical or process orientation.

This assumes you have some previous experience with these people, have listened carefully to them. It assumes you can get some insights about your audience from a trusted resource.

Now what? You have roughed out a map to know your audience. It’s time to put the “know your audience” information into practice.

  • Prioritize your audience perspectives.
  • Orient your messaging to each audience perspective
  • Sprinkle your presentation, messages you give with the messages aligned with the key audience perspectives.

How well you do this has to do with your ability to listen and collect this information. Your success is determined  by your preparedness and your skill.

Practice it. It’s always best to start right away.

Give yourself grace as you make mistakes. Keep your goals in mind. (You have written SMART goals don’t you?)


Helping Leaders Breakthrough

“Dominate your life with Focus, Decision and Execution.”