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How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation: A Speaking Survival Guide for the Rest of Us by T. J. Walker

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Chapter 3. Tailoring Your Speech

SHOULD I TAILOR THE SPEECH FOR THE TYPE OF AUDIENCE?

If you simply want to give a pretty good presentation, don't waste time trying to figure out how to tailor your speech to your audience in terms of stories versus facts. Audiences around the world are all the same: they want stories that involve relevant ideas and facts that affect them. If all you do is present the facts, ma'am, there is an excellent chance your speech will come up short—and be incredibly boring and instantly forgotten.

TELLING PERSONAL STORIES VERSUS JUST THE FACTS

It is true that different audiences will tell you they like different styles as far as facts versus concepts versus stories. Ignore them. You do, however, want to tailor your messages to your audience; so by all means, do some research and find out what messages your audience is interested in, what questions they need answers to, and what problems they have that you might be able to solve. Then give them a presentation that is focused on a handful of messages that are important to them and to you, a story for each, and the most essential relevant facts. I know you've heard that one size doesn't fit all, but in this case, it really does. Messages may differ from audience to audience, but the best way to tailor your speech to an audience really does not change.

Don't be fooled when people tell you their audience is different because everyone has advanced degrees or are "industry insiders." Yes, their audience is different ...

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