Should You Customize Your Presentation?

In other words, do you need to make sure that each time you talk about one of your ‘power’ topics, does it need to be custom fit to that specific audience?

Well, yes and no.

In other words, it depends. I’ve seen speakers that go to great lengths to make sure that they are relating to a specific audience.

For instance, when I saw Tony Robbins address the audience at the Natural Products Expo West a couple of years ago, his presentation had a lot to do with that specific industry. But he had a lot invested in it – financially. One of his companies had an interest in new FDA rules that might affect them, so his knowledge of the industry was extremely high. And because of that, his presentation was specifically tailored to the audience – even though his core message could have been delivered to virtually any gathering.

I’ve also seen keynotes that were ‘cookie-cutter’ and could have been virtually cut-and-pasted to any group without changing a single word.

Both went over quite well.

So what’s the answer?

In those cases, the audience was large – a few thousand at least. The speakers were well known, and the audiences quite receptive.

If you’re speaking to a smaller audience, your payoff will be worth it if you can tailor your presentation.

Let’s say you’re speaking to a group of fitness trainers. Before the presentation if you take some time to chat with some of the audience (either in person or with one of the organizers ahead of time) and learn a bit about the group, you’ll have some good ammunition to add to your speech.

For example, perhaps you speak with Carol, who’s been training and helping clients who are recovering from auto accidents. You tell her that an acquaintance of yours was in an auto accident recently and is in need of some direction. In your conversation you may uncover a couple of tidbits that might help your friend. If you find a way to work a few elements of that conversation into your presentation it does a couple of things:

First, it shows that you took the time to talk to and learn a bit about your audience. It shows them that you care.

Second, when you mention Carol’s name, several members of the audience will perk up a bit more because they’re sure to know who Carol is. So you’ve got them paying closer attention.

Both of those elements will make you more attractive to the audience as a good speaker. It wouldn’t surprise me if a number of them took mental notes and remember to call you when a group they’re associated with needs a speaker.

So all the way around, customizing your presentation – whether a full-blown speech written specifically for the group, or adding some elegant personalization touches – makes a lot of sense.