Know Your Audience

“If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle.” – Jim Stengel

Leap Challenge this week:

  • When you’re prepping for a conversation or a pitch, ask yourself: Who am I talking to? What do they most care about? How can I tailor my comments specifically to them?
  • Act like every second counts in front of other people

I recently attended a conference with a pitch competition. The conference was decent – but the pitching competition gave me a new aha insight about knowing the audience.

The competition was setup up so that there were 2 parts:

Before lunch, 2 minute pitches were given to the audience and received an electronic audience vote.

Later, the top 3 winners pitched to a group panel of around 8 investors as well as the larger audience.

The pitch that was the most popular in the greater audience was not the most well-received by the investor panel – and the reasons were illuminating:

  1. The guy pitching was too promotional about the product and not about how the business would succeed
  2. The investors wanted to be confident in the person, not just the idea. So the person who pitched with the most authority and authenticity edged the others out.
  3. The top 2 pitching started creating an impact even as they were coming on stage – no waiting, no easing into the presentation – just all there immediately. Every second counts and first impressions start getting measured in the first second.

My takeaways were:

Speak to the investors – know what they want to hear, not what I want to say.

Command attention immediately in a relevant and fun way.

Be authoritative AND personable.

My final aha: this is the same no matter the situation or the vehicle. ALWAYS speak to the audience that matters directly, command attention, and be personal.

When does that not apply?