Think about it. The right audience can provide the energy that makes a good presenter great. A bad audience can suck the life out of even the best presenter.
So what I am saying, really? (I get that alot.) Am I advising you to go hire a team of expert audience members? Do I suggest a canned laugh track for your next presentation? Should you pay your family (assuming they are fans) to sit in on your next session?
Not exactly. What I suggest is that you invest as much if not more time figuring out who you are speaking to, what they care about, and how to promote your session or talk than you do creating those lovely PowerPoint slides.
By gathering as much detail as you can about the people who will be listening to your presentation, you can insure that your message resonates with them. When a message connects, or even inspires them to disagree, your audience will come to life in a way that brings fire to your subject matter.
And how you promote your talk is critical to ensuring that the people who end up in your presentation are the people who really want to hear what you have to say.
Sometimes you get lucky with a topic that is spot on or the timing is just right and other times you can guide or direct your topic so that your angle is exactly right for your audience.
Last week, I had the good fortune of presenting to 60 of the most engaged, entertaining, and fun Estate and Gift Tax folks you ever want to meet. I wish I could claim some responsibility for the energy that sizzled in the room - but it was more like a happy accident for me. The audience rocked! Of course, the excellent wine they were drinking may have had something to do with it. (See next week's tip #2 about serving alcohol to your audience.)