You have prepared. You know your material forwards and backwards. You are ready to present. There is one thing you might have neglected though: your audience.
While it is important for you to feel confident about your presentation, it is even more important for your audience to feel engaged and empowered by your presentation. An engaged audience leans in to a presentation. They ask questions. They take notes. They maintain eye contact with the presenter. They are present and paying attention.
Keeping the audience engaged is your job as a presenter. Your audience is relying on you to keep their attention and provide them with a take-away. Whether they have volunteered or are required to watch your presentation, you owe it to them to make it worth their while.
Prior to your presentation, you will want to consider who your audience is and what matters most to them. Are they coworkers you are presenting a new idea to? Are they sales leads who you are pitching a product to? Are they community leaders you are seeking to build a relationship with? Understanding who you are speaking with will help you create a presentation that connects with them in a way that is engaging and meaningful.
While the objective of your presentation might be to teach or provide an update, you are still empowering your audience. Oxford Dictionary defines the word empower as “to give (someone) the authority or power to do something.” Regardless of the category of your presentation, you are empowering your audience because you are equipping them with information they did not have prior to observing you present.
You wield a great deal of power (and responsibility) as a presenter. The people to whom you present trust what you are saying and are depending on you to share your expertise. It is up to you to be know who they are, know what they want and present in a way that is appealing.