Know your audience!
That means when you are creating a presentation – in or out of court – you absolutely must find out who your audience will be, why they are there, and get some idea of what they want to get out of your talk.
Not doing this is one of the classic mistakes a lot of speakers – and attorneys – make.
So before you start preparing for your next presentation, stop and thing about the following:
- Who will be listening?
- What do they want to know about?
- Why are they there?
- How can I meet their needs?
Then, and only then, should you decide the purpose/thesis of your presentation, determine your three overriding main points, and create your presentation.
Lastly, try not to make assumptions without making an effort to find out more about your audience. For example:
Years ago I was doing a lunch speech to a large group attorneys who worked for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office. When asked to speak, I assumed they’d want to get tips on better in-court presentations.
Luckily, I took the time to ask the organizer to send a short, three-question survey to the intended attendees, who emailed me their answers directly.
Their responses were enlightening. The vast majority of my audience wanted to know how to give better presentations out of court, to lay people such as community groups, police officers, and others involved in public safety.
Had I not done my homework, the presentation could have been a disaster.