Speak Easy – Part 2

Amy Thomasson
March 18, 2021

Affinity Strategies is pleased to share the latest blog in our three-part public speaking series. While Part One addressed overcoming public speaking fears, we’ll now focus on how you can personalize your message and delivery style for your audience.

Here are our expert tips:

Understand the organization.
Scott Oser, President, Scott Oser Associates, “I always try to learn as much as I can about who the audience is and tailor my focus accordingly. When it comes to association audiences, there are many things that can be triggers for changes in my message, but a few key ones are individual membership versus trade associations, level of experience and size of the organization. Based on that information, I will go more strategic versus tactical, as well as tweaking my talking points to be applicable to a larger portion of the total audience.”

Know who is in the audience.
“If possible, I ask for a registration list ahead of time. I look at registrants’ titles and associations. I often visit participants’ websites to evaluate services related to the presentation. For those times when this information is not available, I try to have an in-depth conversation with the event organizer. I also take a quick poll related to the topic of discussion, experience level and association tenure,” says Jacqualine Price Osafo, VP of Membership, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This polling methodology can be especially useful when presenting to a new audience, such as when she recently presented to her first international audience at the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE).

Make your content applicable and actionable.
“In a field that changes as quickly as digital marketing does, theoretical knowledge must be supported by practical use of action plans. This is always top of mind when I prepare for a speaking engagement, whether the audience is small business owners or association executives,” says Jon Kinsella, Director of Digital Marketing, Association Headquarters. “Context is just as important as content. Each audience has different pain points and challenges, so I make a point to provide real-world, tactical case studies specific to their day-to-day that complement the overarching theory or strategy.”

Finally, a good presenter knows that a presentation isn’t a one-way communication. Your audience is constantly communicating with you, and there are some quick ways to understand what they’re saying and make simple adjustments to reflect their needs.