Draft a more engaging speech

Giving an effective presentation depends largely upon how well you know your audience. As you write your speech, ask these questions:

  • Who are they? Are you speaking to younger or older people or a mix? If you’re dealing with a mixture of ages and backgrounds, speak directly to certain parts of your audience at times. Example: “Some of you folks born before 1980 may remember …”
  • What do they know? What kind of knowledge do your attendees have? Are they well-versed in your topic? Do they have the needed background details? Will you need to simplify your message?
  • Why should they care? What benefit are you offering your audience? Consider the audience’s level of investment and their needs and wants; then cater to them.
  • How might they respond? Anticipate their questions and prepare answers ahead of time. If they could become negative, you may want to address potential objections upfront.

— Adapted from “Match Your Presentation to Your Audience,” Guest blogger, http://hbr.org.

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