We get to choose
Andrew Dlugan posted in 2012:
Self-centric speakers deliver the speech they want to give . . . Audience-centric speakers deliver the speech the audience wants to hear.”
He says that audience analysis is “the process of learning who your audience is, what they are thinking, and how you can best reach them.”
He suggests analyzing an audience along three dimensions: Demographics, Psychological and Contextual. Most of us speak to a fixed audience in our TM clubs. However, we can define different audiences if we choose to – such as those we might be asked to address at work. Then we practice organizing and presenting our speech as though we were speaking to that target audience. We can get feedback from our evaluator about how the target audience might be affected, too.
Demographics asks who are they, what do they know, who do they think I am (expert, commenter, or humorist for example). What is their education level, gender, ethnicity, employment . . .? However we don’t address an “amorphous blob” called the audience, we talk to individuals. Demographics just helps us get started on our speech planning.
The psychological dimension helps us plan how we’ll approach our subject. What do they know, believe, think about this topic? What do they want to know? What are their values? Are they inclined to agree with our premise or to disagree – or are they most likely to be neutral?
We look at the context for our speech, too. When (morning/evening) is the presentation? What is the dress code? Is the audience required to attend or choosing to attend? Is it a homogeneous audience (employees of a Real Estate firm) or heterogeneous (some of the folks attending a business seminar)? How large is the audience?
Members of the audience may be similar in some ways, which helps us organize our three main points and craft an opening and a closing. However, audience members are individuals; the more of them you get to know before you speak the better you can fine-tune the presentation. Analyzing the audience and using the analysis to build excellence into a speech is an advanced skill. But it is a skill, and can be learned.
Self-centric speaker or Audience-centric speaker? It’s our choice.