The following content originally appeared in Resonate by Nancy Duarte.
When preparing to present to an audience you’ve never met, do some research online. If you know the names of stakeholders in your audience, look up their bios.
If you only know generalities about the audience, try to find the event on social media feeds and read what’s on the minds of the people who will be attending.
If you’ll be presenting to a company, read its annual report, look at how the company positions itself against its competitors, find how they’ve been referenced in the press, and set Google Alerts to notify you when the company is mentioned online.
One time, I was preparing to present to executives at a beer manufacturer. I don’t like beer, and I didn’t know anything about the industry.
So, I read their annual report, checked out recent press, studied key influencers, and looked up each attendee online. I even hosted a beer-tasting event at my shop to see how my team felt about the company and its products.
During the Q&A after my presentation, a question came up from one of the top executives—I knew he was at the top because I’d looked him up—and because of my research, I was able to answer his question with relevant examples.