During my week in Nigeria, I presented to several different audiences. This particular audience was different than the others.

The others were corporate groups: executives, leaders and customer service managers from different businesses. This was an audience in which many people had not yet made it into the work world. Had I come out with a typical customer service presentation, I would have failed. The preparation was important. I asked the client to describe, in detail, the audience. I spent time talking to members of the audience as they were waiting for the program to begin.

Some of what I learned made it into the speech. All of what I learned helped me understand the audience, if even just a little bit more, and gave me insight that made for a better presentation. It’s simple. The best speech in the world means nothing if it doesn’t relate to your audience.