Rule No. 1: Keep your audience in mind — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Rule No. 1: Keep your audience in mind

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Successful presenters prepare by not only focusing on information, but on their audience’s concerns and communication style. By catering to the audience, a presentation becomes more effective and has a higher chance of succeeding. To focus on your target audience and learn what they will expect, answer these questions:

•  What are their organizational responsibilities? Considering your audience’s role in the company will help you figure out how your presentation will affect them, or why they should care.

•  What will they assume? Anticipate any assumptions or misconceptions your audience might have before your presentation begins. This will tell you what you need to clear up as you go along.

•  Are you friends with your audience? Sharing a strong relationship with your audience is important. If you don’t already know them well, open with a story to break the ice.

•  What types of presentations are common? Think about what worked in past presentations and what puts the audience to sleep. If you’re taking a different approach, make sure you keep your audience comfortable.

•  Will someone hold them accountable? If you need feedback or deliverables, you’ll need someone to make sure your audience is held responsible for that. Talk to their managers or supervisors to be certain you get what you need.

— Adapted from “The Best Presentations Are Tailored to the Audience,” Harvard Business Review Staff, Harvard Business Review.

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