One of the most common pieces of conventional wisdom about public speaking is to research your audience. What do they want to hear from you?
That’s fine advice, if you’re talking to a predictable, homogeneous audience. But how often are we doing that? Even a standing staff meeting with a team you know well is a varied group of people who have different needs and interests and desires and issues and personal challenges and weird morning commutes…my point is that maybe you can get some broad strokes (“people in sales want to hear about things relevant to sales”), but how does that really help you?
Your audience wants, first and foremost, to feel like you are bringing something of value to them. You are taking their investment of time and attention very seriously. You are thoughtful, and you are prepared.
If you are thoughtful, you’ve planned how to make your material relevant to your audience.
If you are prepared, you have practiced your talk so that it is natural yet not casual.
Your audience wants to be changed by what you say.