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The Importance of Understanding your Audience when Creating a PowerPoint Presentation


There is a fantastic acronym that is used by some presenters called A.B.C. – which stands for Audience Before Content.

Knowing and understanding your audience is the key to a successful presentation. Before embarking on drafting any business presentations and speeches, it’s important to ensure that you communicate in the right direction.

Communicating in the wrong direction usually occurs when scripts have been written, and PowerPoint decks have been created and designed before even considering who the audience is.

With each PowerPoint presentation that is created, whether it be for a marketing strategy, a business pitch or to sell a product, the goal should always be to motivate the audience to take action. The smart way to do this is to have a good understanding of your audience and what it is that they expect to get out of your presentation.

It’s important to remember that presentations are always about the audience (not the presenter) and meeting the audience’s needs should always be the focus. To achieve this, researching the audience is imperative.

How to know your audience and understand their goals

You can research an audience on two levels. There is the demographic level such as analysing their:  

  • age range
  • gender
  • level of education
  • values
  • beliefs and attitudes

From a corporate or business perspective, there is also a deeper level that focuses on two main factors. They are “What are my audience’s goals” and “How do they make a decision?”

To pinpoint these, there are three further questions to ask yourself, they are:

  • “What does my audience hope to gain from this presentation?”
  • “What are their expectations coming into the presentation?”
  • “What can I present to meet or exceed their expectations?”

When you know the answers to these questions, you will then be able to craft and tailor your presentation specifically to that audience. This will result in interested and focused listeners, that will remember your message and most importantly, they will take action.

Once you have established who your audience is, it’s also important to then consider how much they already know about the subject you will be presenting. When writing your content, you don’t want to cover facts and state things that they already know. To help you get your level of information right, you can perform an audience analysis by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What does my audience already know about this topic?
  • How can I present the topic and all my information in a unique and memorable way?
  • What else can I share that would add to what the audience already knows?
  • What can I include in my presentation that my audience will benefit from the most? E.g. Illustrations, charts, videos, or real-life examples.

What happens when you don’t consider your audience

When you create a presentation without considering your audience, it doesn’t matter how visually appealing your slide deck is, how charismatic you are as a presenter or how much information you share. If your audience doesn’t relate to what you are presenting, they won’t care about or remember your message.

What is your gift?

Briar Goldberg, the director of speaker coaching at TED wrote a great article on the importance of knowing your audience. In the article, he shared a great piece of advice. He said, “When we’re helping speakers prepare their talks, we ask them to identify the gift they will be giving the audience.”

Whether you are preparing a PowerPoint presentation or a speech, it helps to ask yourself the question – What gift will I be giving the audience? What will they be gaining from my presentation?

In Conclusion

Having a clear understanding of your audience is essential before writing and creating any presentation. Not only will this knowledge allow you to write your content more effectively, but it will also help you
achieve your intended goal.  

Would you like to deliver more than what’s expected? Contact the

PowerPoint Presentation design experts at Slidesho today.