Knowing your audience
One of the most common mistakes that people make when preparing a presentation is not considering the audience it is intended for. The speaker prepares each slide thinking about what he or she wants to say (“I want to talk to you about my book”) and not about what the audience is interested in hearing. The speaker is the protagonist in any presentation, but that does not make him the most important person in the room. The “main character” needs to be the audience, because they are the ones that need to be called into action.
That is why it is essential to know who will be assisting the presentation and how knowledgeable they are on each subject. Talking about global warming to a room full of scientists is not the same as speaking about it at a public forum or at a primary school. The only way we are going to be able to correctly prepare for our presentation is by knowing who it is meant for, by knowing who are audience is.
Of course, this will mean more work for the speaker. But preparing a tailored presentation is the only way we will spark the audience’s interest and earn their undivided attention.
Last but not least, it is also important to know the size of the audience, how long the presentation will be and if it will be held in person or virtually