Invisible Audience, Lost Connection: Why Knowing Your Audience Matters More Than Slides

Invisible Audience, Lost Connection: Why Knowing Your Audience Matters More Than Slides

You find out you have to do a talk.

You come up with the topic.

And then you dig right into the slides.


I have news for you.

This is what the majority of presenters do wrong.

Do you know the first thing you should do before creating a talk, presentation, webinar, or slide deck? 

The one thing you must do before creating your slides is know your audience.

The first step in speaking to anyone is to know who you’re talking to.

Know their pain points.

Know what matters to them.

Know who’s in the actual audience.

If you don’t know – how do you know what to say?

What will resonate with them?

I recently had a conversation with someone preparing a presentation for work.

She had meticulously crafted her slides and rehearsed her content, but a crucial piece was missing – she didn’t know her audience. Her boss never provided insights into who would attend the presentation.

As a result, she found herself struggling to create something meaningful and engaging. She had difficulty creating something in a vacuum and feeling passionate about it.

It’s a scenario many of us can relate to. 

It can feel impossible to connect with your audience online or on stage if you don’t know who they are.

Don’t wait until you get there.

Some executives think it’s acceptable to breeze through slides for 45 minutes – just talking about what THEY want to talk about.

Guess what? That’s a surefire way to lose your audience’s interest and credibility as a speaker. Do that, and they won’t connect. They won’t buy your product. They won’t trust you. They won’t even like you very much… and if you’re a paid speaker, you likely won’t be invited back.

The key to being a successful presenter is to shift your mindset from merely delivering information to engaging in a conversation with your audience.

And it’s not a real conversation unless you know them.

You see them. 

You need to know your audience to feel them.

Presenting blindly is a recipe for disaster. 

Empower yourself by asking questions about your audience ahead of time. Contact event planners or organizers (or get your EA or team) to gather insights to help you tailor your presentation, know what to teach them, and how to talk to each person. What do you ask?

Who are they? 

What are their ages?

What are the other demographics? (ex: What level of education?)

What time am I presenting (this matters … people are TIRED at 3 pm, so you’ll need to ENTERTAIN)?

Bonus questions you’ll need to ask:

Will there be a prompter?

Is there a podium?

If it’s a panel, what is the seating? (Bar stools, chairs, etc)

Stick mic or lavalier mic?

Remember, it’s not about what you want to talk about – rather, what your audience needs to hear.