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Know your audience

You can’t influence or persuade your audience unless you know how they make decisions

It’s critical to:

  • Prepare by researching the audience members
  • If possible, build alliances with them before the presentation
  • Prepare them well for your presentation – send an agenda or a brief description of the project beforehand
  • Practice your pitch and be comfortable with it
  • Get feedback from colleagues
  • Have the facts at hand to answer questions and provide additional detail if required.

Think about whom you are pitching to

Ask yourself the following questions about the group:

  • How much does each of them know about the subject matter? What level of detail is appropriate?
  • Are there differing views within the group? What are they?
  • Who might object and why? What can I do to neutralise negativity?
  • How does the group make decisions? Is there a dominant voice? Is it a consensus-driven process?
  • What else is on the agenda? Is it the right time to pitch?
  • How can we show how this project will benefit them as a group and individually?
  • How can I make them care about this project?

Use the Know Your Audience tool to help think through the individual characteristics of audience members as individuals and as a group.