Many of us who are public speakers or who occasionally give talks in public know interesting things about a number of subjects. And if we speak on different topics we naturally tailor our speeches accordingly.
But how many public speakers, before giving their talk, actually take the time and make the effort to know their audience? It simply doesn't occur to most speakers. Yet, it can make or break the success of your speaking efforts.
How well do you know your audience?
1. Is it comprised of people in your business or profession who already have an interest in your subject?
2. Can you make accurate assumptions about their background knowledge of your topic?
3. Will they already know the language, buzz words, jargon or will you need to either explain some of those or avoid using them?
4. Are the basic concepts or framework familiar to your audience? If not, how much time will you devote to outlining some structure to hang your words upon so that they're comprehensible.
5. What are the things that might group your listeners together?
6. Is there a common age-group which you'll be addressing? The sophistication of your language could be very different. You want to be understandable to all, while you avoid talking down to those of advanced education or experience. The attention span also may be radically different! Words alone may be perfectly acceptable for one group, while graphic or audio material might be essential to hold the attention of a restless audience.
For example, when I give a lecture-demonstration on music theory to children, I keep the language familiar to them and the concepts memorable-perhaps with graphics or whimsy or humor.
However, lets say I give a lecture-demonstration on 12-tone music to advanced music students in a college or university. They will already be familiar with the language of music theory, and I can use terms such as atonality, dissonance, counterpoint, orchestration, and it will make perfect sense to them.
When you are still in the thinking stage, even before you write your talk, keep the personality of your potential audience in mind. You'll find that it helps you to shape your speech and give it character that pleases your listeners.
Watch for Part 2!
Carole McMichaels, Speaker, Coach, Musician, Author: Fearless Public Speaking: How to Get Rid of Your Stage Fright and Prepare and Deliver a Winning Presentation, invites you to join her free newsletter, “A Friendly Guide to Public Speaking" http://www.getridofpublicspeakingfears.com