In a recent day home feeling under the weather, I got a chance to catch up with daytime TV. I was watching the Tyra Banks show and the topic was What do other people think of us? They had chosen a group of women, who for various reasons weren’t getting the kind of results they wanted in their lives.

Here was Linda, who was very attractive, and had 12 first dates in the last 12 months and zero second dates. Poor Linda just couldn’t figure out why. So, the show set her up on dates with four different guys then had the guys come to the show and talk about their dates. The consensus from the guys was that Linda liked to talk about herself… a lot. And when the guys were with her, they didn’t really feel that she was with them – or that they were important, or even present.

For business professionals (and singles), there’s an important lesson from Linda’s dating experience. To get someone’s attention, to get someone to listen to us – we have to listen to them first. We have to connect. As speakers (and daters), we have to show an interest in our listeners.

Connecting is NOT talking about ourselves or our topic.Connecting is a two-way exchange of energy, interest, and attention.

Here are five questions to ask to help you connect better with your audiences. (I’m going to leave the dating comparisons behind, but try listening more to improve your dating adventures). Think of these questions as homework, to help you better prepare for important presentations. Your efforts will set you apart from other business presenters.

1. What are your audiences’ demographics – age range, education, roles in the organization?
2. What do they already know about your topic?
3. What concerns might they have about your topic?
4. What do they want to learn or know about?
5. How can they use the information that you provide?

Now, you might be wondering: How do I find out all this information? You might be thinking that you’ve got enough to worry about just putting your presentation together. Here is where you get to separate yourself from the everyday business presenter to become the SUPERSTAR presenter.

The SUPERSTAR presenter goes above and beyond the everyday presenter in that he or she thinks about the audience, and how the audience will best connect with the information that is to be presented.

Here are five ways that the SUPERSTAR does her homework:
1. Uses her detective skills to find other people who have presented to the same audience and asks them the above questions.
2. Calls a colleague who works with some of the audience and finds out what she needs to know.
3. Gets the names of the audience members and sends an introductory email with a few questions.
4. Calls a few of the audience members.
5. Sets a preliminary meeting to meet with the group and learn first-hand what their concerns are, then develops the presentation with their concerns in mind.

By using the information she found, the SUPERSTAR presenter can’t help but connect and be relevant and engaging as she gives her presentation.

I challenge you to rise to the occasion and become the SUPERSTAR presenter you were meant to be.

Author's Bio: 

Dana Bristol-Smith is the founder of Speak for Success, an organization that works with companies that want their people to communicate with confidence and credibility. You can email Dana Sign up for her free Speak for Success Ezine at: or Blog at: