How to Effectively Repurpose a Presentation for Different Crowds
By Nancy Duarte
There’s something euphoric about nailing a talk. When you end a presentation feeling certain your audience is onboard with you, it’s as thrilling as hitting a grand slam in the ninth.
Crafting and delivering a winning talk can feel exhilarating and empowering. But it can also feel elusive and rare.
I’ve got good news. If you’re a presenter who feels like your great presentation experiences only happen as often as a hole-in-one, there’s hope.
A presentation or keynote that works doesn’t have to be a thing that you only get to give once. Once you create a successful talk, you can rely on it again and again as a tool to communicate to multiple audiences.
All you have to do is spend some time tailoring the talk for each group before you present.
You can ensure a presentation is properly suited when you put a little time and energy in. Then, you can reap the benefits of its success again and again.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind when you’re changing up a presentation for a new audience.
Do Your Audience Analysis Again
You have to actually move listeners when you give a talk. This involves stirring emotion in them and, in turn, generating their empathy.
Multiple studies have shown that empathy results in “helping” behavior in people—which means that people actually feel more inclined to do the things that benefit the people around them (i.e. for your audience, the things you tell them to do in your talk).
An audience analysis is essentially a deep dive into who your audience members are. Beyond the professional positions they hold, ask yourself: What are listeners’ fears, hopes, goals, hobbies, and hesitations? How might they resist the ideas you present? What subjects might enthrall them?
Once you understand more about who your audience members are, you can incorporate stories that are relevant to their interests and needs.
Chances are, if you’ve already crafted a successful talk for one audience, you’ve already done one good audience analysis. But, in the process of repurposing your presentation, you should do a completely new analysis for your second audience.
Then, remove stories that were tailored to your first group and replace them with ones that will matter to your second.
For some guidance doing an audience analysis, download our Audience Needs Map. This walks you through the process of getting to know an audience on a more intimate level.
Get Clear About Your Key Message
It may sound like I’m stating the obvious here, but one of the most important steps to ensuring that you deliver a talk that works is making sure that YOU know what your key message (or “Big Idea”) is.
You need to be intimately connected with your big idea if you want it to land. Then, be able to articulate it clearly and succinctly.
Take some time to hone in on your talk’s big idea. Make sure that it’s relevant to the audience you’re going to be presenting to. If not, you may want to edit it. What do you want to say to your next listeners? What do you want them to leave thinking about?
Be vigilant about using your big idea as a filter when you edit. During the process of tweaking, make sure the key takeaway hasn’t been obscured.
Take a look at our own process of narrowing in on and stating a presentation’s big idea.
Adjust Your Call to Action
Your Call to Action—or CTA—is the part of your presentation where you explicitly state what you need audience members to do once they leave. A talk can be the most eloquent and beautiful piece of speechwriting in the world. Your presentation has been essentially fruitless if people leave not knowing what they’re supposed to do next.
It’s important to note that when it comes to presentation CTAs, one size does not fit all. The appeal you make to a group of VC bigwigs is going to be different than at a staged industry event.
When you repurpose a presentation, think about the things that you need your new audience to do. Then, decide what language resonates with or motivates them.
Update your CTA accordingly. By the end of your talk, your audience should be 100% clear about what they can do to help you meet your goal.
Keep Your Slides Simple from the Get-Go
Slideshows help the audience “see” what you’re saying. Visuals have been shown to boost retention and appeal to the audience members who are visual learners. Note: studies show that 65% of all people are visual learners.
If you want to make the process of repurposing a presentation easy, keep your slides simple and highly conceptual.
If you only include the important information that supports your ideas from the start, there’s a good chance that information will be universally relevant. That way, you won’t have to do much editing of the slides themselves for your next talk.
Don’t put that presentation away once it’s been delivered. Instead, keep it handy so that you can use those key insights again and again.
By crafting simple slides, spending a little time getting to know your audience, and updating the content so that it appeals to the right hearts and minds, you’ll get to watch the fruits of your labor pay off again and again.