Determining an audience

As I continue my series of posts on how to better prepare for your first major assignment, I wanted to spend this post focusing on the most critical component of any presentation: THE AUDIENCE! Without an audience, you aren’t engaging in public communication. That’s why it is important and essential to consider the qualities of your audience.

You may want to consider the demographics first. These are the qualities of an audience that are pretty easily identifiable. For example, think about the composition of your audience, in terms of biological sex. How many men and how many women will be part of the audience? You will also want to consider age range, religious or cultural backgrounds, as well as other more easily identifiable factors of the audience.

The second component to consider is the audience’s qualities. When I use this term, I think about the other characteristics that makes each audience unique. Considerations might include education level, socioeconomic status, societal roles, interests, and other similar ideas. When we know these things, we can more readily select and develop topics that meet their needs.

Consider an example: If I know I will be speaking to a group primarily comprised of women ages 25-45 who are working mothers, this strongly dictates the way I might approach a topic like the fair pay act. Further, it might help me consider related topics, as well, including sick leave, health care options, and corporate culture.

Here’s another video produced by Toastmasters to help you understand audience analysis. Happy viewing!


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