Seven Questions to Knowing Your Audience

(Although these principles were written primarily to address business presentations, they also have tremendous truth for missionary presentations to churches.)

by Nancy Durate, Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, O’Reilly, 2008.

What are they like? Demographics and psycholgraphics are a great start, but connecting with your audience means understanding them on a personal level. Take a walk in their shoes and describe what their life looks like.

Why are they here? What do they think they’re going to get out of this presentation? Why did they come to hear you? Are they willing participants or mandatory attendees? This is also a bit of situation analysis.

What keeps them up at night? Everyone has a fear, a pain point, a thorn in the side. Let your audience know you empathize – and offer a solution.

How can you solve their problem? What’s in it for the audience? How are you going to make their lives better?

What do you want them to do? Answer the question “so what?” Make sure there’s clear action for your audience to take.

How might they resist? What will keep them from adopting your message and carrying out your call to action?

How can you best reach them? People vary in how they prefer to receive information. This can include everything from the setup of the room to the availability of materials after the presentation. Give the audience what they want, how they want it.