[7] questions speakers should ask before they open their mouths

mic 2


As a speaker, teacher, presenter or preacher, it’s important we know two things: our material and our audience.

Nancy Duarte in her fabulous book Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations asks seven poignant questions to know your audience:

  1. What are they like? Understand them on a personal level. 
  2. Why are they here? What motivates them to hear anything you have to say?
  3. What keeps them up at night? What fears or dreams do they have? What issues or problems are they facing?
  4. How can you solve their problem? What’s in it for your audience? How are you going to help them?
  5. What do you want them to do? So what? What’s the clear action when you are done?
  6. How might they resist? What barriers exist that could keep them from adopting your message and carrying it out?
  7. How can you best reach them? What would work best to make this most effective (i.e. room set up, temperature, volume, power points, humor, length of time, visuals, etc)?