The term “audience-centric” is worth more consideration and discussion than I can accomplish in just one blog post (although there are certainly many posts in this blog that cover how to think about audiences!). In fact, the ability to be an audience-centric – versus ego-centric – speaker is everything, literally. Just think about what you like … you tend to favor the speakers who talk to and about you over those who talk to and about themselves, right?

So, how would this work if you were preparing a talk? I recently gave a bit of super simple advice to a client in California as she struggled with finding a shortcut that would help her be more succinct and very focused on her audience. Here’s what I told her: Instead of sitting down and thinking, “ok, what do I want to say?” – which is so very normal for a speaker – sit down and think, “ok, what do they need to know or hear?” Start with them, not you.

In a nutshell, if you shift your initial thoughts away from your topic, and put your head straight into the needs, interests and concerns of your audience as the first step in your prep, it just might be all you need to do!

Beth Levine