12 Most Sharp Reasons Your Audience is the Key to Your Future
When speaking in business, every speech is an opportunity to advance your career in some manner. Be that your reputation, your status in certain people’s eyes or your ability to have people accept your recommendations. Next time you are feeling a bit lazy about creating and rehearsing a presentation, think about what your audience could or could not do for you depending on your performance.
1. They could hire you
Someone in your audience may be in a position to hire you — either now or in the future. You never know, so always make a good impression.
2. They could recommend you
Someone will probably be asked about your talk. You want people to praise your content and its relevance to them as well as your enthusiastic, engaging delivery.
3. They may need your information
Some need to know your content and are counting on you to help them understand it well enough to use it or share it with others. You want them to feel able to explain the key points of most relevance to them.
4. They could sabotage your presentation
Keep up your reputation. Prepare so no one will try to come after you and show that you aren’t really that knowledgeable on the topic.
5. They could ask relevant questions that show you know what you are talking about
When people are learning and enjoying the experience, they are more motivated to ask relevant questions rather than aggressive, difficult ones.
6. They could ask a question that helps you in your work
Once in a while someone will ask a question that gives you a new insight into a challenge, product, or service you are presenting. You’ll get some valuable information for the future direction of your work.
7. They could provide career opportunities
When you do well in a presentation, your boss is more likely to give you additional opportunities to speak. You’re more likely to stand out as promotion material and be included in the succession plan.
8. They could refer you to someone who can add even more value to your topic
Someone may say to you, “I believe you would really enjoy talking to this person about this area. Here’s her name and email. Tell her I suggested the two of you connect.”
9. They could suggest other opportunities to speak
Someone may come up after your presentation and say, “I think so and so’s group should hear this information. I will have the vice-president of that group contact you.”
10. They could help you reach your objective
Is the objective of your presentation to drive action? Your audience members may be decision makers or approvers — the people who can turn your recommendations into reality. Help them want to be on your side and support you.
11. They could get really excited and feel part of a team
If your objective is team building, you want to engage and motivate your audience to work towards certain key objectives. Teambuilding might translate into the project getting done ahead of schedule.
12. They could buy your service or product
You participants may be in a place to say “yes” to a purchase. If not, they are certainly all in a place to tell someone else about your service. Make it easy for them to want to connect you to a potential buyer.
What else could your audience do for you? Recently I was doing some pro-bono work with ninth graders. I talked for about 15 minutes and then gave each team the task of creating an executive summary of a product it plans to make. It was a challenge to keep all 30 high-schoolers focused in the same direction, but we all had fun in the process. After the presentation I met a fabulous consultant who offered to sit down and share his business contacts with me. If I had not taken the job of creating and rehearsing a talk to high-school students seriously, I’m sure he never would have come up to me.
What are your stories? Tell me about an unexpected benefit you got from a well-prepared and rehearsed presentation.
Featured image courtesy of Stig Nygaard licensed via Creative Commons.