Words, Stories, and Pictures


I frequently ask that question of clients, students, colleagues, friends, anyone who is about to give a talk. Most often I think that when we have the opportunity to share ideas or lessons learned with an audience, we think content first. It makes a certain amount of sense – how much time do I have and what do I think that this audience needs to hear/see of what I know? Then based on my understanding of that audience I’ll pick and choose from what I’ve done before; maybe try out some new material if I have the time to prepare. 

If you do not consider what you want your audience to be talking about after that presentation, you risk their not talking about your presentation at all. 

There are plenty of ways that you could capture attention and give the audience something to truly think and talk about: a new result that’s surprising, a desire to make the world a better place, sharing the excitement of discovery, or the frustration of failure and what to do about it. 

group of people raise their hands on stadium
Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

But if you don’t think about these hooks, then on average the audience’s thoughts will quickly move onto other things: What’s the next meeting to get to? Who do they need to message about that other thing? Where’s good to eat? What is the traffic like? What’s the weather tomorrow? How are we going to solve that problem back at work?

It is a waste of your time and theirs to deliver a talk that doesn’t get anyone talking more. Wouldn’t you like to be part of some of those thoughts? Especially that last one? Help at least that audience member thinking that YOU could help THEM? 

Otherwise why are you giving a talk? You could just write an article, hope people read it, and attend to other things. 

auditorium benches chairs class
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But I know you – you’re passionate about this problem. This solution. This idea. This desire to help people. This drive to make the world a better place. It has to be a talk. 

So how can you put Audiences First to not just hope, but ensure that they are talking about your presentation afterwards? I run workshops and teach classes on precisely this question. Many clients have asked me to provide a written version, so over the next several weeks I’ll post snippets of these lessons on my website at wwww.AudiencesFirst.com/blog. I will arrange them into the three pillars of thinking that I most often apply in my workshops: 

The words that your audience uses.

The stories that you tell.

The pictures that you show.

Then depending on your feedback, I can include some further observations and advice to harness emotions and some resources that I find helpful in writing my own presentations. 

So please let me know how you find this content and any questions you might have! After all, so that I can put you, my audience first, I need to know what you need to know. 

That way we can all get better at helping the world, or perhaps just one other person. 

long exposure of photography of brown tree
Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com


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