How to get your message through to mixed audiences

?Presenting would be SO much easier if all your audience had the same motivators.

?Their concerns were all aligned.

?They’d be using your information in exactly the same way in identical contexts.

?Their knowledge was all equal and the language they uttered was replete with the same terminology as the next person.

❌Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.

That means one presentation has to please a varied group of people.

How do you keep from losing sections of your listeners?

These three devices will stop them checking out, no matter how diverse your audience is.


Three techniques to retain the attention of mixed audiences


1. The caveat

This statement in the opening of your presentation or meeting will help to set the expectations of different members of your audience so one half won’t feel like your dumbing down and the other half won’t accuse you of talking over the heads.

So you don’t lose your audience, you’d state, as an example, within the introduction:

“I know we have those here whose concern is more about marketing, as well as technical specialists.  So, I’ll be covering how this innovation will impact on both parties.”

This means you won’t lose either audience when you cover an aspect that’s not necessarily relevant to them.


2. Analogy

An analogy is a highly effective technique of making something abstract or complex more tangible. A client in Software Engineering recently compared a function of an algorithm as acting like a pilot light on a gas cooker. This didn’t only appeal to the non-techies in the group but the techies liked it to as it added extra pertinence to their initiative.

One remarked, “I’m nicking that. I’ll use it when I talk to Business Development. They think we’re from Mars.”


3. Personal experience

Sit the process, function, gadget into a specific experience that your groups will recognise.

Let’s say you’ve got this fancy algorithm that acts like a pilot light.

Maybe Business Development can use the fact that the software is able now to start a series of processes that would previously have been completed manually. “You may want to convey that to your clients and prospects,” you suggest, placing a technical initative within their own contexts.

If it helps your internal functions, you might add that HR can now process payments faster allowing them to focus on other areas.


Your Action:

  1. Use ONE of these consciously in your next meeting.  It doesn’t have to be a formal presentation but any situation where you need to engage diverse listeners.
  2. After that use another of these techniques.
  3. The one after, use another one.
  4. Use one of the three again…
  5. You know what follows, don’t you?  One of them each time.

You’ll soon find that continuing in this way means that you’ll even be able to drop them in spontaneously.

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