How do you deliver a presentation which meets the needs of the audience?
Here are two suggestions.
Firstly, as far as presentation style is concerned, try using the so-called DISC Model (#) to understand the profile of your audience members. For instance, are they mainly extrovert or mainly introvert? Are they mainly people-focused or mainly task-focused? Combining these two dimensions creates a simple model with four categories – Dominant, Influential, Steady and Conscientious; hence the model’s name. This is a broad categorisation of personal styles and not a categorisation of value; organisations obviously need people of each type in order to be successful.
If your audience is mainly of one type then it is easy to choose the presentation style. People with a dominant style prefer to hear about facts and actions and challenging goals. Those with an influential style prefer to be inspired and like to see the big picture; they relish innovation, crave social recognition but loathe having to deal with details. Steady types prefer cooperatve team-working and often need reassurance; they will expect their concerns to be properly addressed. Conscientious types are focused on quality and accuracy and are likely to question anything which appears to be slipshod or poorly thought through.
Any simple model has its limitations – human beings do not fit into just four ‘boxes’ and people will display a variety of styles depending upon circumstances; however, the DISC model is a helpful starting point to understand a person’s preferred style.
Mixed audiences pose bigger challenges but it is not difficult to create the ‘best fit’ presentation every time; the details are beyond the scope of this short article but please get in touch if you wish to know more.
Secondly, as far as presentation content is concerned – just ask the audience. Too simple? Think about what kind of business outcome you and the audience will value most, and then ask audience members, ahead of time, what kind of presentation would help to deliver the business outcome. If you can’t reach the people who will be there on the day, talk to others who do similar work or whose personal ‘DISC’ style best matches your audience. You should be able to collect a few relevant points which will be invaluable in helping you craft your presentation. It’s just sensible market research to prevent you from delivering a boring, self-centred presentation!
Written by Chris Hoggarth, the presentation expert
(# the DISC Model is based on the work of Dr William Moulton Marston, a Harvard graduate, and is used in a variety of forms.)