Communication Rebel Blog

Stalk Your Way to Better Speaking

I’m a stalker! Not the kind that checks my ex’s Facebook page obsessively to see if he has a new girlfriend (maybe, I’ve done this…maybe) or stalks their prey like this cute kitten.

As presenters, we all should be stalking our audience before speaking. Those unknown people showing up to your presentation are the most important people in the room, and they should be anything other than unknown.

Let’s stalk your audience before speaking.

Step 1: Ask

The first step to successful stalking is to ask questions about the audience. Whoever booked you for your speaking gig, you need to talk to them about who is in your audience. Who are they? Why are they there? What pains them?

More importantly, if this presentation is for work or your small business ask the contact who are the most important people in the audience for you to connect with. For business presentations, asking this question gives you the intel that will impress the stakeholders (and make the person who booked you look amazing). For small business owners, you’ll know the important people to network with.

Everyone in your audience is important, but getting to know who are the decision makes makes your presentation a success.

Step 2: LinkedIn

Now that you know who you need to connect with in your audience, look them up on LinkedIn. Most professionals have a LinkedIn profile. You can find out more about their background, where they went to school and what groups they participate in. Maybe you can find some commonalities or something in particular that will peak their interest in your presentation.

The other nifty side effect of LinkedIn is if you are a speaker who gets nervous, you’ll see pictures of who is attending your presentation. It makes you feel like you know the people who show up.

But what if they are not on LinkedIn?

Step 3: Google

Google is a speaker’s best friend. If they are not on LinkedIn or their profile is not quite complete, google them. Find out if they have been in the news or the industry rags. Do they blog? Google has a host of information that can let you get to know your audience.

Step 4: Use the Intel to Connect

Use your superpower of stalking for speaking success.

You super stalker! You’ve asked all the right questions, looked audience members up on LinkedIn or gave them a good Google. Now, you can use what you know to tailor your presentation to meet your audience’s needs. It will be easier to connect with them because you did your research in advance.

Isn’t the Internet cool?

If you need more tips on engaging presentations, don’t hesitate to contact me about presentation coaching to make your speaking shine!


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