Presenting to different types of people


When planning a presentation, make sure you think about the mindset of the main group in your audience. Don’t present as you would be presented to; your audience might not like that!

A simple form of four quadrant behavioural style is a very practical way to look at four key different types of needs in an audience. There is a good summary of a four quadrant framework at: What planet is my audience from? .

1. Work out roughly which of the four types fits you. Whilst you no doubt have a wonderfully subtle personality, this main style is how you instinctively communicate – it is your default option. Unless you stop and think about it, you will use that main style.

So the solution is clear – stop and think about it!
2. Think about the most common type in your audience and prepare your presentation on the basis of their needs, not yours. Sometimes you will know the personalities of the key decision makers and can use the right approach for them. On other occasions, certain types dominate in particular jobs – IT attracts analysis driven people, social work attracts people who are very focused on how people feel and so on.

Some occupational groups attract certain types. If you are presenting to a group of farmers, many in the audience will be very task-focused and interested in the end point, not the journey along the way. Of course, not all of them will be like this, but this type will cover a fair proportion of the group. With such groups, give them the facts, get to the point quickly and give them room to make up their own minds.

Catering for some of the various types may require you to get creative. However, we can all communicate in a way that suits the other types, but for some of the styles we need to really consciously think about it.  The key is to present in the way the audience wants.
Try it out and enjoy the increase in audience engagement.

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