When you or anyone else gives a presentation I’ve been coached to “know your audience.”  Sometimes this may not be easy:  a public workshop, a convention or conference or an initial sales pitch.  When you can learn more about who the audience is, you’re at a starting point for getting some of your major points either rewritten, deleted or massaged.  You wouldn’t use in-house acronyms at a conference even if it is for your industry, or you wouldn’t use industry-only jargon because you don’t know if some of your audience just started in the industry and isn’t versed on the language or vocabulary. Use easy-to-understand-and-picture words that your audiences can assimilate into their personal and professional lives.

Never assume your audience knows as much as you do.

I attended a workshop today and took home some good points.  The speaker spoke in a lay-person’s language:  he’s a lawyer, and he spoke on negotiation skills.  He was a good speaker and gave us ample time to listen to him, listen to questions and comments, and take away two-three major points that we can immediately use in our lives. (I just hope they work.)  He never assumed that as small business owners we had either won or lost, had any real need to understand the significance of a multi-million/billion dollar deal, or needed to negotiate daily; he gave us information and we can use it to our advantage.

Another assumption is that in 2012 everyone has a smart phone, a lap top or iPad, instant access to e-mail and voice mail, and knows how to use the latest technology:  apps, QR (quick response) Codes, text message abbreviations, etc.

An attendee came up to me afterward and asked if he could “buy me a cup of coffee” and talk about training. (I’m not certain how I negotiate the benefit of my spending an hour plus of my time to give  him strategies and tactics for getting into the training business, but I know other people gave me their time and expertise when I asked so many years ago.)  His business card had two QR Codes on the back:  “Free E-mail Courses”  and “Free Trial Class.”  What if someone who wanted to learn more about  his Chinese Language Center doesn’t have a smart phone?  I’m one of those people.  I can’t access the information about his courses or trail class.  Yes, I can go to his website, but I felt left out that I didn’t have the technology – okay I may be in the minority in mid-2012! – and couldn’t see what the center offered immediately.

Do you assume that just because something is new and used – so to speak – that everyone in your audience wants to use it or has the capabilities to do so?  If so, consider options for people who may be “behind the time.”  Yes his black, 8-font type on a light-to-dark blue card gave me a website, and yet….   Maybe the card – aside from changing the color scheme – could give the website on the back in larger letters either along side or immediately below the QR Codes to let non-QR Code savvy individuals find the information.

What do you assume in your business marketing that may curtail your audience reach?


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