An essential part of public speaking is your Audience. Well obviously you might say – without an audience you can’t really be a public speaker. Audiences are who we speak to and why we are there.

It’s surprising therefore, how often we forget them or take the audience for granted. In our workshops we stress that you need to know your audience. This not only encompasses who your audience is, how many there are but most importantly what do you want your audience to take away. What do you want the audience to do with your message?

Knowing your audience will assist in deciding on your topic and in organising your presentation to achieve your aim. Are you speaking to all males, all females or is it mixed. What is the age mix? For example it would be unlikely you would present a speech on tapestry and embroidery history to an audience of firemen, whilst an in depth presentation on rugby or baseball may be better for an audience of sports fanatics rather than to an audience comprising of new mothers.

Is your audience expecting to be entertained, informed or motivated? The answer to this will impact on how you structure and present your speech. You will need to ensure that your body language and vocal variety are especially geared for motivational and inspiring speeches. Informed speeches will need to be well constructed and maybe enhanced by a Powerpoint presentation. If you are entertaining your audience you will need to incorporate humour and possibly personal stories.

How large is your audience? There is nothing worse than expecting to speak to 20 people and finding that you actually have 400 in the audience or expecting 100 or more and find it is a small group of 20. It doesn’t help the nerves or confidence and if you have handouts or brochures you don’t want to be caught short.

Prior preparation by asking a few well chosen questions about your audience will ensure that as a public speaker you will be professional, competent and in control.

Know your audience – they are vital to public speaking!

Trish @ Trischel

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