Audience-Centeredness• Good public speakers are audience-centered, meaning, they keep the audience foremost in their minds at every step of speech preparation and presentation• The primary purpose of speechmaking is to gain a desired response from listeners
Audience-Centeredness• To whom am I speaking?• What do I want them to know, believe, or do as a result of my speech?• What is the most effective way of composing and presenting my speech to accomplish that aim?
Audience-Centeredness• Effective speakers create a bond with the audience by emphasizing common values, goals and experiences (identification)• Think in advance about your audiences’ background and interests, their level of knowledge about a topic your speaking on, their attitudes about certain topics
The Psychology of Audiences• When you listen to a speech, sometimes you pay close attention, other times your thoughts wander.• You can force people to ATTEND a speech, but you cannot force someone to listen• What a speaker says is filtered through the listener’s frame of reference (the sum of his/her needs, interests, expectations, knowledge and experience)• Egocentrism: the tendency of people to be concerned above all with their own values, beliefs and well-being
Egocentricism• People want to hear things that are meaningful to them• They pay closest attention to messages that affect their own values, beliefs, and well- being• Listeners will hear and judge what you say on the basis of what they already know and believe• You must relate your message to your listeners
Demographic Audience Analysis• Analysis that focuses on demographic factors like age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, group membership, racial, ethnic or cultural background, etc.1. Identify the general demographic features of your audience2. Gauge the importance of those features to a particular speaking situation
Situational Audience Analysis• Builds on demographic analysis, focuses on situational factors like size of the audience, the physical setting for the speech, and the disposition of the audience toward the topic, the speaker and the occasion.Size: the larger the audience, the more formal your presentation must be. Size can also affect your language, and choice of visual aids.
Situational Audience AnalysisPhysical setting: size of the room, A/V technology availability, microphones, hot/cold temperature, time of day, etc.Disposition toward the topic:• Interest - is the audience engaged or distracted?• Knowledge - can you use technical language if the audience is experienced in the topic? Do you have to change your level of speech if the material is new to the audience?• Attitude - how would you change your speech if you knew the audience favored/opposed your topic?
Situational Audience AnalysisDisposition toward the speaker: understanding that an audience’s response to a message is invariably colored by their perception of the speaker (credibility)Disposition toward the occasion: is the speech appropriate for the occasion? Example: using a graduate commencement speech to further a political agenda
Adapting to the AudienceBefore the speech: assess how your audience is likely to respond to what you say in your speech, and adjust what you say to make it as clear, appropriate and convincing as possible How will the audience react to my introduction and conclusion? Do the visual aids actually make my message clearer, or do they distract? How will the audience respond to my delivery and choice of words?
Adapting to the AudienceDuring the speech: you may have to make on- the-fly adjustments to remedy a variety of circumstances: maybe you have to shorten your speech or fill more time, maybe there will be no computer to use for visual aids, maybe a venue change.It’s most important to stay flexible and be ready to expect anything! Control what you can before the speech, and adjust what you can during the speech.