[Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a post originally published in 2016.]
You know that one of the keys to giving a great presentation (to any audience of any size) is to give the audience what they want and need. But how do you get into your audience’s heads? How do you give them what they want?
My favorite method for doing this is an old chestnut that PR people everywhere use: The Who/What/What table.
Let’s make one now! Get a piece of paper. (I’ll wait.) OK, now turn it sideways (landscape view). Draw three large vertical columns. Your first column heading is: Audience. The second column heading: What they think, do, feel, fear and hope for now. The third column heading: What I want them to think, do, feel, fear and hope for.
Then, draw several horizontal rows across the columns – one for each audience segment you are trying to reach. Be detailed. “Employees” as a category doesn’t work – your engineering team thinks and wants something different than your sales team. Customers in different verticals buy from you for different reasons, have different market pressures, so refine that section too. Add influencers, partners, competitors, etc. Every audience on your radar screen goes on the list. The better your audience list is, the better your end product will be.
The tricky parts come next. For each audience, identify what they think, feel, hope for and do now – especially as it concerns your new product strategy, your reorg, your vision for the market – whatever the topic of your talk is! Do not make this part up. Gather evidence – what you’ve read in their e-mails, what they’ve said to you 1:1. You are building context, spelunking into the minds of your audiences. This information is the foundation of your evangelism plan.
The third column is more creative. What do you want each of your audiences to think, feel, do, and hope for about your project? In this exercise you’re tailoring your message for each segment. Example: When you’re telling your engineering team about the new company strategy you might emphasize the innovative approach, when you’re talking to sales you could talk about how the strategy will help open new markets.
If you want extra credit, you can add a fourth column to your chart – How. This is where you turn yourself into a communications strategist. Ask yourself: Based on what I know about each audience – how will I persuade them to think what I want them to think? Will it take data? A logical argument? An inspiring story? Validation from experts? And what’s the best channel to reach them?
When you really think from your audience’s perspective and do everything you can to speak to their needs and their aspirations, you are well on your way to becoming a great communicator!
Your business must scale, and you must scale with it. Great communicators create the change they want to see in the world. poseycorp helps innovators build powerful messages and the skill to deliver them so they can break through the noise and be heard! Click here to receive pragmatic communications advice in your inbox every month.