Extraordinary Team Blog

It’s All About Your Audience!

Posted by Kristin Arnold on May 14, 2012

Last week, I gave a presentation about enterprise-level thought leadership to a hundred executives at the Senior Executive Network.  You may be thinking, “Kristin, you’re a high stakes meeting facilitator; what are you doing talking about thought leadership?”

As I was preparing for this talk, I was wondering the same thing myself as I do not consider myself to be an expert in thought leadership!  Fortunately, I have a keen interest in personal thought leadership and I have facilitated several strategic planning sessions over the last several years where “thought leadership” became a strategic initiative to attract new customers.  To prepare for this speech, I married my personal interest to my experience and viola!  I created a one-hour presentation and slideshow – which was very well received; many executives listed the topic as their primary “take-away”.   High praise indeed.

Yes, the content was valuable.  I shared some insights and a blueprint to take action in an area that many of the executives had not been exposed to.

Yes, I made it very engaging and interactive.  After all, I wrote the book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve, and Inspire Your Audiences to Action.  With a title like that, I have a reputation to live up to!

What really grabbed their attention was the real-life examples from companies that were represented in the room.  As I was explaining key components to a thought leadership strategy, I had copied and pasted an example from a company webpage into the slideshow.  They could SEE themselves  as content curators and thought leaders.  Often times, speakers cite the big players with established case studies (Starbucks, Fedex etc.)  Why not use our own audience’s wisdom?  Sure, it took a bit of work on my part to 1) Get a list of participants and company names; 2) Research the companies and 3) Select a visual that could capture the point.

What do you do to bring in the wisdom of the audience into your presentation?