Quiet. The Audience is Listening…


Wait, are you sure about that? There is no point spending hours preparing the content for a presentation with beautiful pictures, flashy animations and videos if your delivery falls flat. Presenting is after all an art of convincing your audience. The audience can come in all shapes and sizes. As a presenter, you will need to contend with different objectives, agendas, perceptions and behaviours. Your success depends on how well you navigate these treacherous waters to ultimately deliver your intended message.

Let’s examine some of these people within the audience in the workplace and how best to manage them.

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#Type 1 – The Critic
This person is basically a perfectionist and a fault finder. He/she will attempt to locate mistakes in your presentation or delivery and point it out to you and if you’re lucky, they will do so after your presentation and in private. If you are unlucky, they will call you out mid-delivery. Critics are important. They keep a presenter on his/her toes. The only way to get around this is to scrutinize your presentation from every angle prior to presenting it. Getting help from others can help.


#Type 2 – The Skeptic
This person is not easily convinced by your ideas. This person may be happy with the way things are right now. They only way to get around them is by facts and figures. Let your data do the talking for them. It should be presented clearly and logically (i.e. what is the current state? what is the issue with the current state? what did you change? how did you test it? and, what was the result?). In these situations, authenticity of data and data comparisons (i.e. before and after) are critical. Talk to this person separately post-presentation. Give them more details if you have to.

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# Type 3 – The Quiet by Choice
This person is very knowledgeable however may not voice his/her opinion (be it positive or negative) to you directly. This person will reserve judgement until the final result is obtained. If you’ve identified them, ask them questions during your presentation. Get their point of view. If you are hesitant to do this while you are presenting, make it a point to meet up with them post-presentation for a quick feedback session.


# Type 4 – The
Encyclopedia
This person is similar to “The Quiet by Choice” but the main difference is that they are vocal. They will let you know what they are thinking. In fact, they may even know more about the subject that you are presenting on. If you know who they are, consult with them during the preparation phase. They could give you valuable insights. This is especially so if you are not technical, but presenting to a technical audience.


# Type 5 – The Ride-Along
This person was dragged in to your presentation. They don’t really care about who you are and what you are going to talk about. This person is an audience by accident. This person is easy to identify. They simply won’t be concentrating and giving you their full attention. How do you know if you are a good presenter? Convince these types to people to listen to you. How can I do that you ask? Make sure there is variety in your content and delivery. In other words, there should be something for everyone in your presentation. Show charisma and express yourself confidently.

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# Type 6 – The Believer
The person in the audience that every presenter loves. This person is there to support you. This is a person you trust. When you feel nervous during a presentation, this is the person you will look at for a little self-assurance. This person will also tolerate and be understanding to any hiccups that occur during your presentation. However, this person may also be a little biased. Their feedback is important to you of course, but make sure it is validated by others.

So…how do you bring your “A Game” when you need to present?
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