AUDIENCE ANALYSISThe audience is often referred to as the end user, and all communications need to be targeted towards thedefined audience. When defining an audience, factors that must be considered include:• Age• Skills• Language• Culture• Background knowledge• Needs and interests• Where the document will be read• How the document will be delivered (print, online, projection etc.)• Why the document will be accessed (reference, training)• When the document will be accessed (work, home, travel)• As speakers we all know the importance of properly preparing our material far enough in advanceso we may have sufficient time to rehearse and "fine-tune" our speeches. Unfortunately, this isnot enough to assure that your speech or presentation is well received. Your speech preparationmust also include gathering information about your audience and their needs. A well preparedspeech given to the wrong audience can have the same effect as a poorly prepared speech given tothe correct audience. They both can fail terribly.• It is critical that your preparation efforts include some amount of audience analysis. The moreyou know and understand about your audience and their needs, the better you can prepare yourspeech to assure that you meet their needs. Speech preparation should use the 9 Ps.• Prior Proper Preparation• Prevents Poor Performance of the• Person Putting on the Presentation.• Nothing will relax you more than to know you have properly prepared. The stage fright or speechanxiety felt by many speakers is due to not knowing enough about the speaking environment orthe audience. The more you know about your speaking environment and your audience, the morerelaxed you will be when delivering your speech. Many speakers, however, often overlook theneed to include any kind of audience analysis as part of their speech preparation. Proper audienceanalysis will assure that you give the right speech to the right audience. Most professional
speakers send their clients a multi-page questionnaire in order to gather enough information aboutthem and the speaking event to properly customize their speeches. Using the word "A-U-D-I-E-N-C-E" as an acronym, I have defined some general audience analysis categories that thesesurveys should include.• A nalysis - Who are they? How many will be there?• U nderstanding - What is their knowledge of the subject?• D emographics - What is their age, sex, educational background?• I nterest - Why are they there? Who asked them to be there?• E nvironment - Where will I stand? Can they all see & hear me?• N eeds - What are their needs? What are your needs as the speaker?• C ustomized - What specific needs do you need to address?• E xpectations - What do they expect to learn or hear from you?Develop specific questions which fit into each of these eight categories and ask the client or audience totell you what they want. Essentially, ask them what they need and give it to them.GUIDELINES FOR EFFECTIVE PUBLICSPEAKING/PRESENTATIONS/SPEECHIf you follow the seven habits below when preparing for your own presentations, you would be able to feel confident and securewhen facing your audience -- whether youre a first-time speaker or a still-not-quite-secure repeat performer.1) KNOW YOUR PAL�: Purpose, Audience and Logistics. If your purpose is to inform the audience, then you need to provide newand useful information. If, however, you want to persuade people, then you need to make them believe in your message or callthem to action. Be very clear about your intended results. In other words, begin with the end in mind. You also want to askyourself: Who is in the audience? Are they colleagues, or prospective clients? Why are they there? What are their demographics(Where are they from? How old are they?). What is their attitude toward your objective? What knowledge do they have and do theyneed? The "right" information to the wrong audience limits your chance of achieving your objectives.Find out as much as you can about your audience before preparing your speech. Even seasoned professional speakers sometimesforget to do all their homework and wind up feeling foolish. There have been numerous examples of speeches given withinformation that was either too far above or too far below the knowledge level of the audience.Knowing the logistics is important, too. Are you part of a team or panel of speakers? What will the other speakers be discussing?How large is the audience? What visual equipment is available? How much time do you have to present? What time of day will yoube speaking? The answers to these questions are crucial factors in helping you tailor your presentation.
Once you have determined your PAL, write your overall objective in one sentence or less. This helps you maintain focus during thepreparation process.2. PREPARE ADEQUATELY: Once you clarify your objectives, its time to prepare the presentation. The first step is to collect thematerial. Look for analogies and metaphors, stories, examples, audience, involvement techniques, case studies to support the factsand figures. After collecting the material, begin to organize it so there is a logical progression of ideas. Limit the points, keeping themessage simple. Writing out transitions helps to reinforce the ideas and to repeat without being redundant.Write the introduction and conclusion after the body of the presentation is completed, being sure to start with impact including thebenefit of the presentation to the audience and ending with strength and something memorable.3. CREATE A USER FRIENDLY FINAL DRAFT: Imagine what would happen if you created a masterpiece ... only to have thebriefcase its in stolen. Always leave a copy of the final draft at home or in the office for someone to fax to you in an emergency.This user-friendly final draft should be in outline form on note paper, minimal 18 point boldface. Highlight the must know, shouldknow and could know materials in different colors. Avoid using note cards; they can cause you to do too much shuffling. Only writeon the top two thirds of the page, otherwise your eyes and voice will drop, and you will lose your audiences attention.4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE: At least three to six times, out loud -- saying it differently each time to keep thespontaneity. Practicing in your head where you are eloquent wont work as well than actually saying it. If you will be delivering yourspeech standing up, then practice the same way using a similar room setup. If you cant practice in the actual room where you willbe speaking, improvise. Set up the chairs in the way they will actually be used. If you can practice in front of someone, theircomments will help you to refine your presentation. Tape record yourself. Remember, if you dont find your presentation interestingno one else will either.5. ARRIVE EARLY: Make sure the room is set up correctly, the microphone is working and check any visual aids you may be using.If possible, be available to introduce yourself and shake hands with your audience as they arrive. This will help them to be morereceptive to you as a speaker.6. DELIVERY TECHNIQUES: As an effective speaker, you want your audience to be receptive to the communication signals youwill be sending them: the three Vs -- Visual, Verbal and Vocal. While all three are important, for some audience members, whatyou say may not be as important as how you say it. For other audiences members, the way you look and the facial expressions youuse will influence their impressions. Your ultimate credibility as a speaker will be determined by your mastery of the three Vs.Visual - The old adage that "Clothes make the man" or woman, is still valid. The first thing your audience members see is yourappearance. Before you get a chance to say a word, some of them will already have judged you based solely on how you look. Ifyou are presenting at a business meeting, proper business dress is called for. If you have been invited to speak at an "off-campus"event, check with the event organizer. You can never be faulted for looking "too professional," even if the audience is dresseddown. Be certain that your outfit and accessories dont detract from your presentation. Avoid anything that makes noise or looksflashy, like jangling bracelets or earrings.Both men and women should check that their clothing fits well, and that they can move comfortably in it.Your body language will also send the audience a message. Dont cross your arms or fidget. Use gestures to emphasize points, butbe careful not to flail your arms around. The most effective stance is a forward lean, not swaying back and forth or bouncing onyour feet. Effective speakers make regular eye contact with audience members, holding the connection to complete an idea. Thishelps draw listeners into your speech. Nodding to emphasize a point also helps make a connection with the audience. If you nodoccasionally, audience members will too -- creating a bond.Vocal -- If you have ever listened to people speaking in a monotone, you know how difficult it is to pay attention. There are sixvocal cues to remember: pitch, volume, rate, punch, pause, and diction. It is also important to speak clearly and enunciate. If yourush your delivery or speak softly, the audience will have to work too hard to pay attention. Vary your tone and speed and tailoryour delivery rate to accommodate any regional differences. Keep your chin up while speaking, dont bury it in notes. When youlook down, your voice drops. Emphasize or "punch" certain words for effect, but dont forget to incorporate pauses to give theaudience time to let important points be understood. Proper diction is also essential -- if youre not sure how to pronounce a word,look it up or dont use it.Verbal -- There are three verbal communication rules to remember:Use descriptive, simple language; use short sentences; and avoid and jargon.
7. HANDLE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS WITH TACT: Having prepared your speech thoroughly, you will be ready for mostquestions. Answer them as briefly and concisely as you can. Its best to paraphrase the question before answering it. This will helpto clarify it in your mind and to make sure you understand the question. At some time you may encounter someone whose onlyobjective is to stump the speaker or put you on the defensive. If you dont know the answer, say so. Dont try to make one up. Tellthe questioner that you will find out the answer and get back to him or her. Knowing how to create and deliver effectivepresentations will enhance your ability to project a positive image.