Without it, you are guaranteed a fail. Without it, you will not connect with your audience. Without it, your words will fall on deaf ears.
Adults learn on a “need-to-know” basis! You have to explain why the listener needs-to-know your information.
Solve My Current Problems Now
Adults are problem-centric. They come to your presentation looking for an answer to their problem.
In most cases, they don’t want content just for the sake of learning something new. They don’t want information that will be relevant to them a year from now. They don’t want facts and figures that don’t have any meaning. They don’t want data that won’t help them with the challenges they face today.
They have a problem that they are looking for a solution now.
When adults feel they need-to-know, they will listen. When they feel your information will help them with their immediate problems, they will give you their attention. When the content you are sharing helps them just in time, they will attend.
Adults learn on a “need-to-know” basis.
Your challenge as a presenter is taking the time to explain the need-to-know.
Creating The Need-To-Know Incentive
Why should an audience listen to your presentation?
Too many presenters just jump into their topic right from the start. They never take the time to explain its relevance.
As a presenter, your challenge is to create the “need-to-know” incentive so that the audience will believe they need to embrace your presentation.
Psychologists tell us that humans perceive information to be relevant when it elicits fear, hope or pleasure. Presenters must walk a tightrope balancing act of creating a scenario where the listener will want to avoid danger or harm as well as receive pleasure and be able to improve.
Ultimately, as a presenter, you need to explain the why before you ever get to the what.
When People Will Change
People will only change when the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of change. It is only when the hurt is so great that if they don’t change, they will fail, that an audience will think about changing.
Then they have to know enough about how to change. They also have to care enough to want to change.
So your presentation must not only inform people why they need-to-know the information, you must light a fire under them to ignite the change.
The audience must feel that it’s urgent to listen and act on what you’re sharing. If not, the information is lost in their filters.
So you as a presenter, must be able to warn them of harm if they don’t act. Cast a vision of what could be if they do act. Share the benefits of their action. Equip them to know how to act.
And all of this must be based on the listener’s need-to-know! And it must be done at the beginning of your presentation.
Note: This same strategy applies to selecting conference content and speakers. The content should be based on attendees’ need-to-know!
Why do so many people need speakers to light a fire underneath them to get them motivated to listen and learn? What are the barriers to applying a “need-to-know” incentive to your presentation?