Check for Understanding: Anticipating Audience Response - Exercise

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Check for Understanding: Anticipating Audience Response - Exercise

Check for Understanding: Anticipating Audience Response

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

In this exercise, you will consider the following scenario.

Julian and Marco are in the lunch room at work. They are discussing a presentation they have to do in two weeks. Read the following scenario and answer the questions that follow it.

Julian: How are the slides coming along in the presentation?

Marco: Pretty good, but I have some questions about the content of the outline you gave me.

Julian: Oh? I thought the information was pretty clear.

Marco: It is, but I am not sure it is the right amount of information for the audience.

Julian: What do you mean? Aren't the members of our department the audience?

Marco: Well, yes, but the primary audience is the CEO, isn't it? He is the one who will make the ultimate decision on this proposal.

Julian: You are right! We need to focus on him, not so much on the department. They already know all the details because we have been talking about this for so long. The CEO doesn't have any idea about the details.

Marco: Do you want to re-write the outline, or should we work together on the slides, adding in additional detail where it is needed?

  1. Why is Marco concerned about the information in the presentation? Is there too much or too little information in the outline prepared by Julian?
  2. Why would the information for the CEO be different than for the department members? What kinds of things will the CEO look for in this presentation in order to make a decision?
  3. Think of a time when you have made a presentation or created a document in your workplace that was focused on the wrong audience. What happened? If this has not happened in your experience, speculate on what would happen.


  1. The main reason Marco is concerned is he thinks that the primary audience has been misidentified. There is not enough detail in the presentation for the CEO.
  2. The CEO is probably not aware of the details of the proposed project as he has not been privy to the discussions in the department. The details that will make the difference for the CEO will be budget, timelines, benefits of the proposal, etc.
  3. Watch the following presentation on audience response to learn more about how to determine what kind of and how much information needs to be included in a written business project.