By Presentation Studio

November 30, 2016

How to connect with your audience

Connecting and addressing the pain points of your audience is the single most important thing you can do as a speaker.

With over taxed schedules we require a good reason to delay the deadlines and attend a presentation. Why do we turn up at all? The primary reason is to discover more in person than we’d get from reading the report. If you’re the speaker, you need to make your presentation interesting and informative in a personal way _?_ and that starts with understanding your audience.

One of the worst presentations I witnessed was when the CEO of a global fashion brand presented to a room of executives.
It failed in so many areas:

This speaker would have been better with no visuals, instead of the ones that drowned him. He literally choked: gag reflex / reached for the water / voice of death. We know when our presentation is tanking; we can see it in the audience.

Sadly, many of us fall victim to the same mistakes, these are my ‘audience’ red flags:


Tired, flat, disengaged, flipping their phone, no understanding of the material.

  1. The speaker reads a monologue from their speaker notes
  2. They don’t share anything new
  3. They make complex and confusing statements
  4. There’s no clear message or call to action

The audience leaves wondering why they’d bothered, or conversely, pleased to have had the time to clean up some emails.


Initially interested but lose interest quickly as presentation goes downhill.

  1. Insight might be working but the speaker missed the audience interaction.
  2. Visuals chosen don’t support or reinforce the content.
  3. Visuals such as charts and graphs have too much information / are confusing.

The audience is wondering why they couldn’t have read the report or Googled the topic on the evening commute.


Laughing or crying? Like watching a train wreck. Ultimately they’re thinking, _??This is not what I signed up for’.

  1. This speaker is entertaining; so many stories / questions from the audience.
  2. There’s no structure; it feels like the presenter is making it up on the spot.

Audience members reckon the speaker should do stand-up, but feel they haven’t actually learned anything, thus leave a little confused.

Here’s what you want your audience to be:


There’s excitement in the air! The audience is alert, wanting more, interested and interacting. They believe in the speaker. The presentation is:

  1. Relevant
  2. Contains a clear message
  3. Each slide retains clarity
  4. Memorable
  5. Engaging

Creating this type of audience interaction begins well before you get in the room; it’s a result of thorough planning and preparation. To win your audience, you first need to know your audience.


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This post was originally published by Emma Bannister on Presentation Guru

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