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When you think about the audience for your presentation, you’re most likely thinking of a mass. An amorphous entity, a row of nameless faces. This is not very conducive to hitting the right note, because as we all know, it’s easier to talk to a single person than to a roomful of (mostly unknown) people.

So how can you overcome this barrier?

One very helpful way offered by presentation gurus is to “create a persona”.
Which simply means to flesh out the personality of a “typical” audience member.

You already know the category to which your audience belongs. For example – the sales department of an organization.

So first, you need to stop thinking about the department as a whole and – based on your prior experience and interactions – visualize one person who represents that category.

Then, you need to ask yourself a whole lot of questions, for example:
• Is this person male or female?
• How old is s/he?
• What level is she at?
• What are her interests outside of work?
• What are her values, aspirations and personality traits?

Once you have some answers to the questions above, for example:
• Female
• 30
• Mid-level
• Enjoys travelling solo
• Team player, high-achiever, self-motivated

Creating this persona will help you overcome the barrier of communication as you will have a “character” in mind and will be able to imagine and therefore address your “audience” better.

Next, ask yourself questions that relate to the presentation you are working on:
• What are her challenges at work?
• How does your product/service help address crucial pain-points?
• How much information would she already have on the subject of your presentation?
• What is the format she is mostly likely to appreciate?

And so on.

This will help you to fine-tune the content of your presentation and deliver it in a more convincing, one-on-one manner.