- Even the most technically savvy audience welcomes clear speaking: You can't go wrong with terms that any listener can understand--and there's no need to think of it as "dumbing down" or "condescending." If you catch yourself thinking that way, it's time to reexamine your motivation for speaking to this group. No audience will know everything you know, and that doesn't mean they're dumb. Nor should your words be.
- If you're not sure how to calibrate your talk, ask. Ask the organizers, if you don't know the group, and listen for cues that will tell you more about the audience. What do they want to hear about? Some organizations ask for audience input before a presentation, so be sure you get access to it before you begin. Failing that, take a poll of the audience at the start, and ask them what their levels of experience are with your topic.
- Use message techniques to make your words memorable and clear. If you can help me follow your points with useful analogies, an outline that follows the rule of three key points, and other message techniques, I'm more likely to understand you.
I hope you'll enter the 15 Weeks to Step Up Your Speaking contest so we can work together on priorities like this one!
Related posts: All our posts on audience considerations