When preparing for a business presentation, a speaking appearance or a sales call, some of the best advice that I ever received was to never assume and never underestimate the audience, of one or of thousands. A critical mistake is when we as presenters underestimate the knowledge and preparation of those with whom you are meeting or speaking to.
Rather than making the assumption that they have only prepared to listen to what you have to say, we always need to take the position that they are as intensely prepared as you are on the topic du jour.
If there is an assumption, be safe to think that each person in the room has a grasp of the message that you are trying to convey. The challenge is, to tell them what they don’t know. It’s up to you as the speaker in the front of the room or on the platform to make your point convincingly and with confidence. The x-factor is no great industry secret. Every great speaker and salesperson is well aware of the critical factor… preparation. You can over rehearse, but you can never over prepare. When you take the podium after an introduction, or walk into a sales call, having the confidence that you have anticipated the questions and objections in advance and have mentally prepared to face those issues head-on… then, and only then are you really living up to the challenge. I like to describe this process as preparing to win… not just merely playing the game.