One eager attendee raised her hand tentatively. The presenter called on her and listened to her relevant, on-topic question.
She got three quarters of the way through it before she was cut off.
“Wait wait! I’ve got some slides that talk about your question a little later on. We will talk about that later. Ok, back to my presentation…”
It wasn’t a big room or a big crowd. There were maybe fifteen people in the audience, and the presenter knew he was speaking to an audience that was looking for practical answers.
But after another hour and a half of poorly-designed PowerPoint, the audience question still wasn’t answered. It was supposed to be a 40 minute slideshow with 20 minutes of Q&A. Instead it was nearly two hours of slides and almost no meaningful discussion.
The presenter somehow thought that their PowerPoint slides were more important than engaging the audience.
If you have known me for any length of time, you know my life’s message is to know your audience. It affects every other decision you make, from content to presentation, from hiring to firing. Sometimes knowing your audience is a high-altitude discovery process of market research and focus groups. Other times, it’s simply taking the time to listen rather than ramming your content down the audience’s throats.
Looking for a reality check on your institution’s ability to listen to your stakeholders? Give Recraft a call. We specialize in cutting through the clutter and discovering what matters most in your public engagement.