7 critical questions to ask about your audience before you start writing your presentation slides

Know your audience


Proven Blueprint to create a clear, memorable, and persuasive presentation slides that get results, whether it is for TED Talk, Conference, Startup/Company pitch, Project Management Deck, Digital Marketing Plan, Performance Metrics/Dashboard, freelancer pitch or personal CV. Here are the 6 steps to create CLEAR x MEMORABLE x PERSUASIVE presentation slides:

Clear Memorable Persuasive Presentation Templates

The first step for all presentation is to know your audience.

The first step for all presentation is to know your audience. By getting to know your audience first, you can then address what is important to them, and solve their issues. You have to make sure every question and issue your audience came with has been addressed.

This is what presentation is about. You present to get result.

From your boss and coworkers, you will win respect, recognition and career advancement

From your customers and prospects, you will win trust, confidence and most likely their business

So what are the things you need to know about your audience? And how do you get to know them?

7 critical questions to ask about your audience before you start writing your presentation slides

Question 1: Who are they?

Connecting with your audience means understanding them on a professional and personal level, which includes:

  1. Know their names, roles, titles, responsibilities, and day-to-day work activities.
  2. Find out the basic demographics such as their gender ratio, age range, education level, professional experience
  3. Will the decision maker(s) be in the room? Do these individuals have the authority to buy your solution or approve your proposal?
  4. Take the time to find out some personal information. What are their special interests and hobbies?

Question 2: What are their expectations and why are they here to hear you present?

Why your audience come to hear your presentation? Find out what are their expectations. Are they looking for a solution to solve their problem?

Question 3: What are their main issues and challenges?

Discover what causes them headaches and frustration. Be able to identify the problems that are causing them financial loss, decreased customer satisfaction, low morale, and/or operational inefficiencies. What do they need to solve their challenges? Show the audience you understand their unique situation and your ability to solve their problems.

Question 4: How does your message solve their problem?

State confidently how the audience benefits from your presentation. Now that you know the audience’s main challenges, be sure you can show them how your products or ideas resolves their concerns and makes life easier for them. Clearly and overtly articulate how your solution will help them. Do not expect the audience to figure out the benefits for themselves regardless of how obvious the advantages seem to you.

Question 5: What impression do you want to make? What do you want the audience to do after hearing your presentation?

What is the call to action? What do you want your audience to get out of the presentation? What impression do you want to make? You want your idea to get approved by management? Or you want your audience to buy your products or solutions? Articulate it clearly in a sentence.

Question 6: How much does your audience already know? Is there any misconceptions you want/need to correct?

Be sure to find out how much they know about your topic so you can tailor your presentation accordingly. The amount of details and type of content you include in your presentation should depend on your audience’s knowledge level and role.

For example, if you are selling an IT solution to a company, the content/level of details will be different when you present to a CEO of the company or a manager of a department. When you present to a CEO, you should sell your solution to cover all macro angle, addressing the challenges/issues the company is facing. While presenting to a manager of the department, you should be able to describe how your solution can make the daily operations easier and more efficient.

Question 7: What are their personality types?

What is your decision-makers personality? Are they detail-oriented, methodical thinkers who want to hear about your process and logic? Or a CEO is fast-paced, quick-thinking, high-driver type who wants to hear the core message in the first 5 minutes? The fast-paced executive receives information differently than does a quality-minded engineer, scientist, or technologists. Your presentation need to address these differences as well.

How to gather information about your audience

There are lots of ways to gather information about your audience. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Speak to the attendees several days or weeks before the presentation. Schedule a call and ask them what they would like to gain from the presentation. Ask what they are expecting. You can get firsthand feedback through this interaction, allows you to establish a personal connection in advance, and enables you to customize your presentation to meet their needs
  2. Send out a questionnaire or survey. If you cannot personally speak with the attendees, consider conduct a pre-session survey. Sending a quick five-or ten-question survey that can be completed in 10 minutes to engage them in thinking. Tools like SurveyMonkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/) will help you set up a survey quickly and easily.
  3. Talk with the audience’s coworkers or people inside the organization. Insights from colleagues/direct reports/managers will help you get a feel for the overall attitude, personality, and environment.
  4. Read the latest articles relating to your audience’s industry, company, or interests. Gather as much current information as possible about their values, mission statement, and performance data. Be sure to read their marketing materials, annual reports, newsletters, brochures, product specification sheets, or other related material. Browse the company website and relevant industry websites.
  5. Visit their facility, store, or office. Gaining firsthand experience and taking the time to see the company in action
  6. Study their competition. If you are delivering a sales presentation, be sure to know the companies and products that your prospect audience considers to be their main rivals
  7. Use an Internet search engine to investigate the key decision makers who will attend your presentation.


To help you understand more about your audience, the worksheet “the 7 critical questions to ask about your audience” is created.


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