If you simply want to give a pretty good presentation, don’t waste time trying to figure out how to tailor your speech to your audience in terms of stories versus facts. Because audiences around the world are all the same: they want stories that involve relevant ideas and facts that affect them. If all you do is present the facts, ma’m, there is an excellent chance your speech will come up short—just below pretty good. Instead, if all you do is deliver facts, there is a great chance that your speech will be incredibly boring and be instantly forgotten.
It is true that different audiences will tell you they like different styles as far as facts, versus concepts, versus stories. Ignore them. Instead, you do want to tailor your messages to your audience, so, by all means, do some research and find out what messages your audience is interested in, what questions do they need answers, what problems do they have that you can solve. Then give them a presentation that is focused on a handful of messages that are important to them and to you, give them a story for each, and give them the most essential facts for each message. I know you’ve heard that one size doesn’t fit all, but in this case, it really does. Messages may differ from audience to audience, but the best way to tailor your speech to an audience really does not change.
Don’t be fooled when people tell you their audience is different because everyone has advanced degrees or are all industry insiders. Yes, their audience is different because every audience is different, but audiences are never different in the way people think they are. Audiences are different in that certain messages will bore them or interest them in different ways. But audiences are more alike than they are different. And the #1 way most audiences are alike is that they easily bored to death by a presenter who tries to “just stick to the facts” and leaves out all of the examples, stories, and vignettes.