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How to empathize with an audience you don’t know

Empathy is getting out of your own perspective and into someone else’s. From a speaker’s point of view, it requires getting in sync with your audience and their emotional state.

 

When you bring empathy into your presentation, you create more positive engagement and therefore you have higher chances of persuading your audience. 

 

Even if you are presenting to a completely unfamiliar audience who you’ve never met, there are some things to consider to make sure your presentation appeals to them. 

 

Collective commonalities 

What things do the audience have in common with one another? 

  • Have they all reached a certain point in their career – maybe they have similar job titles? 
  • Has their organization gone through a shift, or change that may affect them? 
  • Have they been through a particularly challenging time as individuals? What obstacles might they be facing?

 

Answering these questions will help you build an audience persona so you can tailor your One BIG Message™ that resonates with them. 

 

The theme of the event

Is there a theme to the event you are speaking at that you can draw upon and include in your presentation? What’s the purpose of the event? By understanding the objectives of the event, you’ll understand what they’ll consider to be a successful presentation.

 

Ask yourself: “What does your audience need from me?” “What would be useful for them right now?.” This not only helps you tailor your message to your audience, but it also reminds you that they are the ones in the spotlight. 

 

Consider logic and emotion

Finding the right balance between emotion and logic is essential, and the right measure of these make for the perfect presentation. Emotions drive more than 80 percent of our decision-making, while logic makes up the rest. A message that’s based purely on emotion may be deemed unrealistic for your audience while using pure logic will lack depth and be considered too dry. 

 

Consider the following when using emotion and logic: 

 

  • Don’t rely on emotion or logic alone, there needs to be a good balance in your presentation to get your audience to take action.
  • Decide what type of emotion you want to stir within your audience and create easily recognizable characters within your story that are going to display that emotion easily.
  • Adapt your delivery style and tone congruent with the emotional impact you are trying to achieve.

 

Structure your argument 

My favorite tip to really empathize with your audience is the “So what-Now what?” approach. 

 

State a claim, then explain its importance or value before concluding with a call to action or next steps.

 

So you see, we don’t always have to know your audience on a deep level to be able to create an empathetic presentation that will cause them to take action.  

Got a business presentation to deliver? Book a 15-minute FREE consultation to find out more about how I can help you.

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