You definitely know the challenges you encounter when speaking with an adult audience is totally different from what you get with children audience.
Before preparing your speech, there are very specific things you need to take into consideration in order improve the effectiveness of your speech. This module will help you learn those specifics.
WHAT IS AUDIENCE ANALYSIS?
First, an audience is one person or more people who listen to a speaker during a communication process.
When speaking to an audience, some speakers say what they themselves want to hear. When you do so, you lose your audience. The power of a good speech lies in saying what your audience want and need to hear. How can you say what they want or need to hear if you do not know what they want or need?
The process of learning who your audience is, what they are thinking, and how you can best reach them is called Audience Analysis.1
It is the process of examining information about your listeners so that you adapt your message such that your listeners will respond as you wish.2
Audience analysis involves identifying the audience and adapting a speech to their interests, level of understanding, attitudes, and beliefs.3
IMPORTANCE OF AUDIENCE ANALYSIS
Here are valid reasons why you shouldn't skip the audience analysis process
1. It helps you understand the background, attitude, beliefs of the audience.
2. It gives you prior information about where the audience is so that you can meet them where they are on the knowledge scale.
3. It provides the insight you need to prepare a useful content for your audience.
ASPECTS OF AUDIENCE ANALYSIS
Some people say there are more but I personally believe that these five aspects below are sufficient for any speaker to make a useful presentation.
Demographic Analysis: This reveals who you
are speaking to.
You find answers to "Who is in your audience? What are their individual and group characteristics?"
2. Psychological Analysis: This reveals the mental state of the audience. It helps you identity and rate their level of consciousness or unconsciousness as regards your topic. Here you find answers to "What does your audience know? What do they believe? What do they think about your topic?" For instance, if you were going to speak on dancing, this analysis helps you find what they already know so that you can build on it or intelligently introduce the right thing, if what they know about dancing is wrong. In Education for instance, we start from the known to the unknown when we teach. How do effectively communicate with an audience whose present knowledge you know nothing about?
3. Attitudinal Analysis: This reveals how they feel about the topic. Is it something that they are shy about? For instance, how teenagers behave during Sex-Ed. Is it a topic that they are naturally excited about? Again, consider how teenagers feel when a speaker brings up the boyfriend-girlfriend talk.
4. Contextual Analysis: If you've ever cracked a joke that no one laughed about, you will easily understand the importance of context. The jokes that a Nigerian audience will find funny may not be funny to an American audience. This analysis helps you find answers to "When and where are you presenting? Why is this audience listening to you?"
5. Environmental Analysis: This reveals how the hall or room will be arranged, how many people will be there, if there will be a microphone, a projector or not? This helps you prepare ahead of time. See my speaking request form (Live events session) for a sample of how I incorporated environmental analysis ahead of time.
AUDIENCE ANALYSIS TOOLS
Audience analysis tools are simply methods of gathering audience information. They include;
1. Direct observation: When you go somewhere to speak, observe them. How do they greet each other, how do they eat or speak? I like to arrive early when I speak anywhere because I get the time to observe the audience and use what information I gather to connect with them better as I soeak.
2. Survey: Is a set of questions administered to several respondents. You can use online survey tools like
type form to mention a few.
3. Interview: An interview is a one-on-one exchange in which you ask a respondent questions. You get to ask and gather information as much as you require. This could be over the phone or face to face.
4. Focus Groups: A focus group is a small group of people who give you feedback about their perceptions. As with interviews and surveys, in a focus group you should use a limited list of carefully prepared questions designed to get at the information you need to understand their beliefs, attitudes, and values specifically related to your topic. If you conduct a focus group, part of your task will be striking a balance between allowing the discussion to flow freely according to what group members have to say and keeping the group focused on the questions. It’s also your job to guide the group in maintaining responsible and respectful behavior toward each other. 4
5. Using existing information: it is not every time that you are speaking to an entirely new audience. For instance, if you needed to make a presentation to your colleagues at work, you would most likely have valid information about them and the organisation. Put that information to use.
1. Andrew Dlugan (2012) " Audience Analysis:A Guide for Speakers" http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/audience-analysis/ (accessed June 2013).
2. Steven A. and Susan J. Beebe, Public Speaking An Audience-Centered Approach (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997) 79.
3. University of Pittsburgh, "Audience Analysis" https://www.comm.pitt.edu/oral-comm-lab/audience-analysis
4. Conducting Audience Analysis https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_stand-up-speak-out-the-practice-and-ethics-ofpublic-speaking/s08-03-conducting-audience-analysis.html (accessed June 2013).