We're just finishing up the list of Live Spark's The Seven Truths About Events (that you may not want to know). This time, focusing on our last truth--Truth #7.
Truth #7: Audiences only care about themselves.
This one’s no big secret; people want to know what’s in it for them. If a topic isn’t relevant, the brain doesn’t retain it.
It sounds harsh, but people need to filter information by relevance in order to get the most crucial pieces. It was true in the wild, and it's true in the great, wild event ballroom.
An audience needs to see a clear connection between a speaker’s message and their own personal objectives; whether that’s helping them improve their sales with a new product, making their job easier with a new company structure, etc.
So how do you make it relevant?
1. Have the audience set their own personal objectives for the event at hand. Before the event, or even a specific presentation, have an audience write a list of things that they want to get out of the event/presentation. This will help focus their attention to the truly relevant pieces of information; those that will inform, inspire, and help them to perform their jobs.
These objectives can be revisited at the end of a presentation or event. The bonus is, if you have a question and answer session at the end, if the pieces of information were not covered, the audience has a focus for their questions.
2. Include the “What’s in it for you” message with every presentation. What does what you’re saying mean to them? Filter the information; dividing the nice to know from the need to know--and only keeping what's truly relevant. Frame it through their eyes--a marketing team might have different goals and objectives than a sales team, so be mindful of what your audience wants/needs to hear, and mold the messaging accordingly.
At the end of a presentation, have clear takeaways and action items for the audience.
3. Preframe a presentation. Point out specific things that the audience will be interested in hearing. This primes the brain to absorb those pieces of information. If, for instance, you are going to give them training on a new product, tell them that by the end of the presentation, they will learn the three key features and benefits of the new product that will help them sell it into more companies.