Friday, February 13, 2009

Lessons from "Shopaholic"

Even the best presentations can fall flat if the they are given to the wrong audience.

As a far too blatant example, read this excerpt from a review of "Confessions of a Shopaholic" (

Could the release of the new movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” be any more poorly timed? Based on a popular book series, the story is about a credit-crazed, New York City woman who makes Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe collection look like a joke. We just watched the trailer where the Shopoholic, played by Isla Fisher, animalisticly bashes her emergency credit card out of a block of ice with a stiletto, desperate to spend more money...

Warning: it’s tragically painful to watch, given the current financial crisis.

Talk about tone deaf.

Before you prepare, take time to learn as much about your audience as you possibly can. Who are they? What matters to them? What challenges are they going through? What do they know and what do they need to know? What do you need them to do?

And if any of your answers change before you give your speech - adjust your content accordingly.

From the Green Room: Know Your Audience.


Anonymous said...

Great new blog!!
I get your point about bad timing, but could it also be that Shopoholic is coming out at exactly the right time because it can be viewed as an object lesson for how unbridled spending helped get us into this financial meltdown? Perhaps a corrolary to "know your audience" would be know the kind of argument that your listeners would find glaringly counter-intuitive and then grab their attention up front by positing its truth.

Sarah Gershman said...

Absolutely. But make sure you know your audience well enough to know whether this approach will work - or backfire.