Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The 4 audiences for each presentation

This afternoon we did a 4 corners activity.  First of all we were asked to go and stand in 4 corners based on which of these questions resonated the most with us:  What?  Why? So What? and What If?  After that we were asked to regroup based on what we most hope to get from a presentation:  facts and information, engagement, ideas and data or self expression.  In my case I chose the question So What? and what I hoped to gain most was engagement.  Our answers to these questions put us into 4 groups called the professors, the friends, the scientists and the inventors.  Each of these groups comes to a presentation with different motivations and hopes to get something different out of it to take back.  As a presenter, therefore, it's important to design your presentation so that each of the 4 groups feels they have learned something that can be used.

The Professors - these are the What? group.  They value data and expect the presenter to be an authority on the subject.    Often they expect a lecture or demonstration and they want a clear agenda, handouts and bibliographies to take away.   They feel comfortable sitting in rows.  What they are looking for is a way of remembering all the information that is presented.

The Friends - these are the So What? group.  Often they want to sit at circular tables where they can interact with others.  These people like wearing name tags and frequent opportunities to mix and discuss their ideas with the other participants.  They are looking for involvement and engagement and do well with personal stories, sharing and hands-on group activities.

The Inventors - these are the What If? group.  They like mindmaps, colourful charts and opportunities to solve problems.  They like to reorganize the information presented into new and different arrangements and to make new connections.  Often they enjoy being given creative tasks that allow for their self-expression.

The Scientists - these are the Why? group.  Participants in this group like structured topics organized around questions, and they like handouts where they can write lots of notes.  Their aim is to understand the information being presented, to inquire and make judgements.

While learning to be presenters, we have come to realize that we need to intentionally cater to all 4 types of audience (not just the one that we prefer ourselves - though in general presenters do best when the audience members are most like themselves.)  There needs to be a balance with learning engagements that will appeal to all.

Photo Credit: Jocey K via Compfight cc

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