Understand Me - Getting to KNOW Your Audience
If there's one complaint I hear about a leader’s skills from their boss or their HR, it's that they don't adjust their communication for their audience. And yet those leaders genuinely believe that they do adjust for their audience.
So who is right? Well, they're both correct of course. The presenter thinks they are adjusting but they don't really KNOW their audience.
What about the audience themselves? What do they think? Sadly the audience don't have an opinion because they stopped paying attention and moved onto other, more exciting things like thinking about lunch or updating Facebook.
To capture their attention and motivate them to act, you have to get to KNOW your audience
If you want to capture the attention of your audience and take some sort of action as a result of your Communication , you need to get to KNOW your audience and present to them as if it were tailored exclusively and entirely just for them. Because you will have done just that.
Below, I share how you get to KNOW your audience so that you capture their attention and motivate them to do the things that you want them to do. You can take it one step at a time
But first, let me introduce you to a oft-practiced technique that is guaranteed to do the opposite of knowing and engaging your audience:
The Ostrich Manoeuvre
Politicians are especially good at this manoeuvre. Be sure to look down at your notes most of the time and read the speech prepared by some flunky in a monotone. Remember to look up at any random audience member and plaster a fake smile on your face.
I am really an introverted person. Maybe you don't believe that because you've seen me run a workshop or speak at a conference. But when I first started out, I was terrified that I was going to look like an idiot, that I would forget my words, lose track and generally do a terrible job. So I adopted what I call the Ostrich Manoeveur, a technique that essentially guaranteed that I would successfully look like an idiot, forget my words, lose track and do a terrible job.
The Ostrich Manoeuvre is a favourite of insincere politicians and leaders, frequently seen in after-dinner speeches and boardrooms. It is very easy 2 step process and it is guaranteed to make you look really bad.
1. First, please make sure that you stand behind a podium and place your written script on it. If there is no podium available, then turn your back to the audience and read your slides instead.
2. Step 2 is read your script, preferably in a monotone and rarely, if ever, make eye contact with your audience.
This works brilliantly well to show your audience that you do not know your content well enough. That you don't practice because the audience doesn't deserve your effort. And it shows the audience that you could care less who they are, what matters to them or even if you are in the right venue.
You will have seen someone using the Ostrich Manoeveur as long ago as yesterday. Perhaps you used it yourself. I understand, I much preferred to read a script than dare look at the audience and witness the devastating effect my appalling presentation was having on them.
The better you KNOW your audience the better you can engage them
If instead, you would like to engage your audience and make an impact then it will greatly help if you KNOW your audience, that is: be able to fully answer four key questions:
1. What and how much do the Know already?
2. What do they Need to know?
3. What is their Opinion?
4. And, Who are they?
You'll notice that the keywords here make up the KNOW acronym: Know, Need, Opinion and Who.
Easy to remember.