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Set Your Destination

This step: Finding The Zone of Engagement

The task of designing your presentation will become simple and easy, once you Set Your Destination. In other words, when you decide exactly where you're taking your audience.

The secret to engagement is to make that Destination somewhere where the audience wants to go. If you've ever been to a presentation where you were disengaged, it would have been because you weren't being taken towards a destination that was relevant or of value.

The video below is about finding the Zone of Engagement. This video will get you thinking about:

  • how your expertise can be a problem
  • avoiding the audience's existing knowledge
  • misunderstanding what your audience really wants.

Once you've watched the video, answer the four questions to help to drill down into what will be engaging for your particular audience.

Video Transcript

In this video, we’ll look at the first step of the module: Set your Destination. The first step is to find the Zone of Engagement.

The Zone of Engagement is the term we use to describe what your audience will be most interested in. Here’s a diagram representing your audience and your topic. The Zone of Engagement is the area where the audience’s interest overlaps with the things you’re going to be talking about. When you clearly identify your Zone of Engagement your audience will be interested, sitting forward in their seats and getting value from your presentation.

If you’re an expert in your topic, it’s easy to get this wrong. An animal pharmaceutical company asked for our help because their product launch presentation was failing to engage the audience. The audience were farmers who were going to be using the product. The presentation had been created by the scientists who had developed the product. What went wrong was that the scientists focused on what they were interested in – the research and technology that had gone into the product’s development. But their audience – farmers – were only interested in the cost of the product and how to use it. There was no overlap – no Zone of Engagement.

Once the scientists became aware of this they redesigned the presentation focusing on the farmers’ needs, and the launch became a success.

How does this concept of Zone of Engagement apply to the Kiva presentation?

The presentation was designed for members of a service organisation such as Rotary or Lions. We figured that they would be interested in an opportunity to contribute to worthwhile charitable work.

Things the audience already knows are usually outside the Zone of Engagement. If the audience already knows something it’s unlikely to be engaging for them. A few years ago we were coaching Elaine, an HR Manager for Kiwibank – now one of New Zealand’s major banks. However at the time, Kiwibank was only 2 years old and had been established from nothing. Elaine had been asked to speak at an HR conference because HR practitioners were interested in understanding the challenges of managing people during a time of massive growth. To begin with Elaine’s presentation was based around the idea “People are our greatest Asset”. That wasn’t going to be engaging – everybody has heard that before. So Elaine changed her focus to “As our organisation grows, we need different types of people.” Much more engaging!

So now your action step is to pinpoint the place where your topic overlaps with your audience’s interests – the Zone of Engagement. There are four questions that will help you think more deeply about your audience.

  • In what way is your topic relevant to your audience?
  • In relation to your topic, what is your audience most interested in?
  • How will your audience benefit by listening to you?
  • What will your audience find new, surprising, or intriguing?

These questions are on the worksheet (of the Nail that Presentation course), so download that now.
You don’t have to answer these questions yourself – in fact we recommend you talk to members of your Focus Group to gain a wider perspective.  Answer as many of the questions as possible.

And let us know in the Facebook Group how you go with this action step.

Until next time, speak up, speak out.

Now, answer as best you can, the following four questions:

You may have to think quite hard to come up with the answers. This is good!

Strategic thinking now, will result in an engaging and intriguing presentation when it’s time to deliver.

We’ve shown you the answers to the questions for the Kiva demonstration-presentation. The answers don’t have to be long – just well thought-out. Feel free to use the “Save and continue” option if you need some time. We’ll email your work to you and provide some comments.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What are you going to be talking about?

I’m going to talk about the Kiva organisation.

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