The Second Step for Technical Presenters: What to Say? What to Leave Out?

STEM and other technical people love to figure things out. It’s fun to sort out a complex problem! It can be even more fun to tell others how you did it.

In a presentation that is driving action, though, it’s important to shape content according to the audience’s interest and need to know. The audience is there for a specific reason, and may be confused by lots of details. With audience analysis, you can identify precisely what the audience needs and wants to know – and what to leave out.

When planning content, ask yourself these 2 questions:

1. What am I trying to achieve with this presentation?

What is the outcome you are hoping for? Phrase the outcome like this: “The audience will do ________ as a result of listening to my presentation.” Make it action-oriented!

2. What does the audience need in order to do the thing I want them to do?

Audiences need to know 3 things to act on our recommendations: What should I do? Why should I do it? What’s next?

Why should I do it? This is where you motivate your listeners.  How does this make my life/work easier or better? What’s in it for me?

What should I do? State the recommended action clearly. Also, give relevant facts and details – those that would help the audience make their decision.

The “why” and the “what” can be blended, or one can come before the other.

What’s next? Now tell the audience how they can take action. Discuss future implications and applications.

Audiences, whether virtual or in-person, will engage with you more quickly when you plan with their needs in mind!

For more information on Jennifer’s coaching practice for technical presenters, read more here.