Do you really know your target group?

A presentation must be optimally tailored to your audience in order to be truly convincing. Only if you know which people are sitting in the audience can you customize a PowerPoint presentation and really convince them with the content.

Probably each of us has experienced at least once a PowerPoint presentation, where the speaker either bored with long known information, or completely overwhelmed his audience with highbrow technical jargon. In all likelihood, the speaker simply did not know who his audience was. One of the most important rules for a successful presentation is: find out what your audience already knows.

During presentation trainings, I am regularly asked by speakers to help them put the finishing touches on their presentations. In addition to the professional preparation of the individual slides, it is mainly about the right dramaturgy, a convincing rhetoric and body language. I then always ask about the target group for which the presentation is intended. Very often I notice two things: 1. during the presentation a lot of emphasis is put on great technology and modern design, but little is known about the later, hopefully enthusiastic, audience. Knowing the audience, however, is important if my messages are to be properly received. There is no really good presentation that works universally for all people. The technical lecture that elicits only bored yawns from a university professor may evoke complete incomprehension from a first-year student. I need to know what information needs to be prepared for which target groups and in what way so that my presentation is a real success.

Second, even if the speaker knows the exact target audience for the next presentation, customization is usually not done. A fatal omission. You should always ask yourself why you want to show a presentation to an audience. If it doesn’t really matter, you might as well not bother. If you want to achieve something with your presentation, if you want to convince your audience, even inspire them, then you have to make the effort to analyze your audience properly. Only in this way will you strike the right note and select the appropriate content. The auditorium must have the feeling of a personal address. Try to get background information. When appearing before members of a company, look for info on current business performance. A presentation full of witty and humorous remarks will go down badly if employees are currently affected by short-time work. Are there decision makers in the audience? How can they be addressed personally? Should you be lucky enough to always speak in front of the same sort of people, you only need to prepare once, but then properly. If you have to appear before business people today and perhaps before advertising executives tomorrow, you will unfortunately have to adapt your visual language, your choice of words and your dramaturgy individually in each case. A business person probably places a high value on hard facts, while an advertising professional may be more interested in hearing a compelling message. In any case, you should find out what makes your audience “tick” and tailor your presentation accordingly.

The following questions will help you prepare properly for your presentation:

The institution (company / association)

  1. What are the goals?
  2. What is the core business?
  3. What is the economic situation?
  4. What were the latest headlines?
  5. Who are the main competitors?


  1. What is the function / task of the persons (e.g. sales or controlling?
  2. Is the auditorium homogeneous or are the participants composed of different groups?
  3. What is the average age?
  4. What is the numerical ratio between men and women?
  5. On which level of the hierarchy are they?
  6. Which important people (e.g. decision-makers) are present?
  7. How deep is the audience in the topic (specialists or lay people)?


  1. What is your role in the presentation? What is to be achieved?
  2. Should information be conveyed first and foremost?
  3. Is the presentation meant to motivate / inspire?
  4. What call to action should be issued?

You can also find more information on this topic in my book “Präsentation erfolgreich gestalten und halten”. I explain extensively there how to properly categorize your audience according to four specific types. If you want to know how to properly address the Dominance Type, the Stimulus Type, the Harmony Type and the Discipline Type, you will learn in the second chapter.

Contribution image: © pixabay

Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Days. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.