Sameer was the hero of inter-collegiate elocution competitions. He captured the attention of his audience right from the first word of his speech. He always began his oration with an inspiring story, a fable, a historical event, or anecdote relevant to his key message.
What was the secret of Sameer’s success? He was smart at audience analysis. Are you aware of the types of your audiences? Does your speech add value to their lives, interests, or aspirations?
You should know that your speech’s success is directly related to how your audience receives and understands it. Audience analysis is an integral part of speech preparation.
What is audience analysis?
Audience analysis is the process of identifying your audience and collecting information about them. Before delivering the speech, you should know the age group, expertise level, needs, expectations, value system, attitudes, and beliefs of your audience.
Adapting your speech according to the types of audiences is likely to generate a better response.
Some audience analysis factors are as follows:
Audience expectations about the occasion of the speech, its topic, and the personality of the speaker
Audience’s knowledge or familiarity with the topic
Audience’s attitude or approach towards the topic
Audience size and its ability to listen
Why do you think accomplished speakers such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Swami Vivekananda, and Steve Jobs won their audiences over? They knew the importance of audience analysis. The content and style of their speeches touched on subjects that were close to the hearts of their audience.
The importance of audience analysis
Analyzing different types of audiences will lead you to crucial insights that can help you in creating a positive bond with the audience. For example, if you know that 70% of the audience is female, thoroughly researched references to feminism or women empowerment will likely be received well.
Audience analysis prevents you from delivering an incorrect or offensive message. It will also warn you against delivering a message that can be easily misinterpreted. It will help you speak to your audience in the language they understand and appreciate. Let’s now look at the different types of audience analysis.
Types of audience analysis
Demographic audience analysis includes taking in factors such as age, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, marital status, socio-economic conditions, education, occupation, etc. For example, if the subject is healthcare and the audience is in their late fifties, your speech should be geared towards age-appropriate recommendations for a healthy lifestyle.
Psychographic is one of the types of audience analysis that covers understanding the attitudes, beliefs, values and thinking patterns of your audience.
Values such as freedom, honesty, justice, patriotism, equality are universal and cherished by most audiences. The audience is likely to respect you and want to hear from you if your speech reflects any of these values.
Situational audience analysis includes factors such as audience size, the occasion, the room layout, the stage layout, motivation, or interest level of the audience.
If your audience is smaller, there is a possibility of developing a rapport with each member. Tailor your data and delivery to the occasion—what you will say at a corporate conference will differ widely from your talk at a momentous family function.
The content of your speech should acknowledge the diversity of your audience.
Different cultures have different value systems and behavior patterns. Being judgemental in your speech creates a negative impact. Cultural sensitivity and inclusivity should be part of your audience analysis.
Some other types of audience analysis are:
Is it a niche audience with a high level of expertise or a general audience without any specialization in the subject matter? Consider this before using jargon or terms of art.
Why are they investing their time in your speech? What inputs do they need from you?
Do a knowledge analysis of your audience and put your best foot forward. Let your confidence and competence win over the audience.
Understand the importance of audience analysis. Always keep in mind that the lack of proper audience analysis will hamper your credibility as a speaker. Take your planning to the next level with Harappa’s Speaking Effectively course.
The course is designed to help you use nonverbal cues to speak powerfully. You will also learn about Aristotle’s Appeals. It is an important framework comprising three appeals that enhance the quality of your speech: reasoning, credibility, and emotion. With the help of this framework, you can learn how to captivate, engage, and persuade your audience.