How to improve CLE programs: speakers focus on their audience
When it comes to an attorney creating a CLE program, or any presentation, there is a right way and a wrong way to speak and teach. The right way: focus on the intended audience.
Who are they? What do they want? What’s in it for them?
Good speakers – CLE or otherwise – tailor their presentations to their audience – no matter how many times they have given it.
Speakers on auto-dial are the ones who phone it in. They may be top notch litigators or corporate attorneys at the peak of their game, but unless they tailor their presentation to the audience at hand, it just doesn’t matter. It does not cut it to whip out an old, tried and true Power Point and try to make it fit with the program theme. I’ve seen quite a few speakers do this and they may get through the presentation unscathed, but they do not make a great over all impression with their audience.
One of the fundamental rules of public speaking is that it is about your audience, not you. Meet their needs, and do it in a logical, and hopefully, somewhat entertaining fashion and you’re good to go.
In the CLE context you can find out from the provider who is attending, who is the typical audience, or get the registration list and have your assistant google them. You can ask the provider to send a short survey to the attendees to better tailor your program.
And for peet’s sake – when you get to the CLE the day of the event – mingle with the audience before the program starts. Introduce yourself. Ask attendees about their practice. Ask them why they are attending, if they have any particular concerns.
Don’t just go sit up on the dias and flip through your notes for 20 minutes until the program starts. Use the pre-speech time as an opportunity to:
- Get to know your audience personally and better
- Make any last minute adjustments to your presentation based on the feedback you get
Remember, it’s always about your audience.