Angela DeFinis is an industry expert in professional public speaking. As an author, executive speech coach, and founder of DeFinis Communications, she has spent over twenty years helping business professionals communicate with greater poise, power, and passion. Using her signature Line by Line Coaching™ process, Angela and her talented staff have trained business leaders and other professionals to speak with increased skill and confidence in engaging any audience.
When you’re preparing a presentation, who is the most important person you need to consider? The answer: Your audience.
You’ve likely experienced, at least once in your career, what happens when you forget about your audience. Here’s the scenario: You create the perfect presentation complete with solid transitions, compelling visuals, and stellar numbers. You have great jokes planned and practice every element of your speech. Yet, as you stand in front of your listeners and talk, your message isn’t garnering any interest. You know you’re crashing fast. While you may have prepared incessantly before you went to the front of the room, you forgot about the one critical element to your presentation—your audience.
If you forget your audience, your presentation can backfire. That’s why knowing the details about them is critical for your success.
For example, Andrew Winston is a well-known consultant who is dedicated to helping companies grow and flourish by utilizing green environmental strategies. He speaks across the globe to varied audiences. As such, Winston is a master at crafting his presentation to match the needs of his diverse audience.
Winston speaks to audiences of adoring fans, sustainability conference attendees, and even lumberjacks and loggers. Do you think he takes the risk of delivering the same speech to each unique audience? Of course not! The brilliance of Winston is his ability to deliver a compelling presentation every time he speaks because he caters to the specific needs of each audience. When he is in front of his fans, he is bold, controversial, and risk taking. However, when he is in front of an audience of skeptics, he eliminates the controversial pieces and engages with the audience on a personal level.
As a presenter, you must get your audience on your side. If the people in front of you want numbers, give them numbers; if they want jokes, give them jokes. However, if you don’t take the time to analyze what would best suit your audience, your presentation will fall flat no matter how much you prepare.
Therefore, before you begin crafting your speech, know who you are going to be standing in front of. Will you be amongst your cheering, loving fans? Or a caustic, skeptical group of dissenters? Make sure you are prepared to speak to the hearts and minds of the crowd in front of you!
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Today's post is by Lynne Klippel, a best-selling author, publisher, and book shepherd. Since 2004, she's been working with coaches, speakers, and entrepreneurs who want to write a nonfiction book to showcase their expertise and build their business. Her business, Business Building Books, focuses on the marriage of internet marketing and publishing and has helped clients from 6 of the 7 continents. An avid reader, Lynne used to get in loads of trouble as a kid for reading books instead of doing her chores. Lynne lives in Missouri with her husband, three sons, a bunch of pets and tons of books.
One of the first questions you’ll hear from a publisher, writing coach, or interviewer is “Who should read your book?”
Most of us want to say, “Everyone!”
While you probably do have information in your book that will help many people, it is highly unlikely that everyone in the world will need to read it. Drat!
When you take time to get very clear on the characteristics, needs, and desires of a specific group of readers, you’ll be able to write your book faster and more effectively. Plus, you’ll be much more successful in your book marketing efforts.
Let’s start with a few examples of clear descriptions of perfect readers:
- Women aged 40 to 60 who have children and aging parents
- Divorced fathers who share custody of their children
- High school students who want to get into an Ivy League university
- Young adults aged 20 to 30 who left organized religion but still seek spiritual connection
- Corporate presidents or vice presidents who plan to retire in the next five years
- Women in their twenties with an eating disorder
- Parents whose grade school children act out in school
Each description brings a specific person to your mind, right? You may have pictured a friend, relative, or acquaintance who fit that description perfectly.
Now, it’s your turn to describe your perfect reader. Consider these key areas:
- Demographics: age, gender, marital status, profession, and socioeconomic status
- Challenges and stressors your reader faces that cause her to worry or look for help in a book
- Hopes, dreams, and goals
- Personality style—does he like facts and statistics or stories and humor?
- Time management—is she too busy to read long chapters?
- Current information-gathering practices—does he read, look online, go to seminars, take classes, or depend on others for new information?
- Fears—this is one the most important area to look at. Your book must provide a solution to a fear or group of fears if it’s really going to help your readers thrive.
You will continue to refine the definition of your perfect reader as you write your book. One of the best ways to do this is to teach some classes and see what kinds of people attend and resonate with your material. If you don’t enjoy teaching, notice the kinds of people who visit your website or comment on your blog.
The more you study and learn about your ideal reader, the more targeted you can make your book. Real people read books. When you can capture the essence of the perfect reader for your book, you are one step closer to becoming a successful author!
If you are ready to become a successful author, capitalize on your strengths and build from there. To identify your author strengths, complete the free Author Assessment at www.BusinessBuildingBooks.com.