Preparing for your audience

If you have to ask great speakers for their secret to their success on stage, one common factor would be the amount of preparation that they conduct on understanding their audience. In this article, I will share some of the factors that to consider when tailoring your speech to your audience.

There are 4 requirements to understanding your audience:

  1. PAIN: Before you present, identify exactly what is the pain that your audience is going through and how your product or service can assist to alleviate that pain.
  2. PROBLEM: Your audience has a challenge that needs to be solved You must be able to define the problem that your product or service solves in a cost-effective way.
  3. NEED: Your audience has a need that your product or service fulfills. They are looking for some improvement in their life or the way things gets done.
  4. GOAL: Determine how your product or service enables your audience to achieve their goal in a timely and cost-effective way.

 Audience Demographics and Characteristics

The following factors impact the types and complexity of the examples that you use. It also impacts on the types of: analogies, stories, videos, group activities, discussions; visuals; sound clips and any audience participation games, that you might incorporate within your presentation.

  1. Age and Age Range
    1. Younger audiences have different understandings, cultural knowledge and backgrounds.
  2. Gender and Family Status
    1. A split of 50:50 males and females requires different planning and execution if there are majority male or majority female in the audience.
    2. Married, dingle, divorced, widowed, children or not – all are essential facts for tailoring your content appropriately.
  3. Income
    1. Knowing the audience income age; income range and how they earn their income can help you to refer to money and income-related topics in a way that is more acceptable to your audience.
  4. Education / Occupation
    1. Knowing the type of education your listeners have helps you choose relevant examples, illustrations, analogies and vocabulary
    2. Trends in the industry; latest news concerning certain types of careers all help in scripting of your speech.
  5. Audience Familiarity with your subject
    1. Beginners or expert level knowledge requires different approaches to content; interaction and level of complexity and engagement.

Inspirational Advice

Listed below is a series of questions that you can use to understand your audience better:

  1. What are their goals and aspirations?
  2. What are their hopes and fears as it relates to your subject?
  3. What needs do they have that you can fulfill with your comments and your ideas?
  4. What are their values and beliefs?
  5. What are their worries, concerns or problems?

Trust is an important factor to your audience listening to you. If you can show them that you have conducted your preparation in a way to really know them, they will trust you enough to work with you.

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