Stepping on stage to give a speech can be one of the most heart-wrenching moments of your life. And if you don’t understand your audience, it’s destined to be a disaster.
How To Analyze Your Audience
- A – Attitude
- U – Understanding of the topic
- D – Demographics
- I – Interests
- E – Expectations
- N – Needs
- C – Context
- E – Engagement
Audience analysis is a fundamental part of public speaking. It’s the bread and butter of any speech and can ensure your speech is flawlessly received!
Coming from an experienced corporate emcee, here are eight tips for properly analyzing your AUDIENCE to ensure your speech is successful.
Understanding the people around you is an important part of life. It gives you the tools and resources to be successful in anything you do!
Especially when it comes to public speaking, audience analysis is critical. After all, when you walk on stage, the audience is more than a sea of faces in front of you. You need to prepare in order to deliver a great speech!
The foundation of speech preparation is analyzing the audience. It’ll ensure your content is accurate and can help ease the stress that comes with stage fright. Even if you’re not a seasoned speaker, understanding your audience is the best way to be successful.
As a corporate emcee, I’ve had plenty of experience with analyzing an audience. It’s likely one of the most integral parts of preparing for any speech. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to be the entertaining performer that I am!
So, let’s talk about the first thing you need to pay attention to when it comes to your audience.
Diving Into AUDIENCE Analysis
We can break down the eight major parts of audience analysis into the acronym “AUDIENCE.” And the first point is attitude.
The attitude of your listeners is very critical to designing your speech in the right way. Depending on it, you’ll likely need to adjust your speech so it is more readily accepted.
For example, if you are proposing an idea to someone, you’ll likely deliver it differently depending on their mood. If their demeanor is bright and cheerful, it’ll be easier to offer up your ideas. However, if they’re upset or cranky, you may need to tread a bit more carefully so that the ideas are more readily accepted.
However, the attitude of your audience can sometimes be hard to anticipate beforehand. You’ll have to do your best to predict what it will be. And once you’re on stage, take into account anything that may have affected their moods beforehand.
Understanding the audience’s attitude can help you tailor your approach and tone to effectively connect with them. For example, if your listeners are already enthusiastic, you can build upon their energy. But if they are skeptical, you may need to focus on addressing their concerns to garner trust.
#2. Understanding Of The Topic
There are many different reasons why you may be speaking to an audience. Sometimes, it can be purely for entertainment reasons, and other times it can be educational.
You need to take into account the audience’s previous understanding of the topics you’re going to be speaking on. This is important for ensuring you use the right wording and phrases so that they are able to fully comprehend what you’re talking about!
Analyzing your audience’s level of understanding will help you deliver the right level of complexity for your speech. That way, you can strike the right balance between oversimplification and providing necessary explanations.
You don’t want to leave people feeling lost, but you also don’t want to waste time over-explaining things they already understand.
For example, for a speech about AI, you would likely need to provide less information to a group of computer scientists versus a group of retirees unfamiliar with technology. That’s why audience analysis is so important!
Your audience isn’t a collective robot. Your listeners are all individuals, and even as a whole, your audience is unique!
Before preparing your speech, you’ll need to analyze the demographics of your audience. Anything from their age, gender, or occupation can play a role here.
Factors like age or cultural background can significantly influence the interests, values, and perspectives of your audience. And that, in turn, will affect how they receive your speech.
Understanding their demographics can assist you in tailoring your speech to be relatable and relevant to your specific audience. You’ll need to adjust your language and attitude to fit in with your listeners so they feel seen and heard.
You can’t just focus on the facts of your audience and expect to be successful. Things like their age and location, though absolutely critical to understand, aren’t all that can affect your audience analysis.
It’s a good idea to be familiar with the interests of your audience. It’ll help you connect with them on a deeper level and more thoroughly understand what’s important to them.
Relating your message to their interests increases the likelihood of creating a connection and generating meaningful engagement.
Think about what sorts of hobbies they’re likely interested in. What sorts of topics would they find engaging? What information would they deem relevant?
Not every audience will have the same interests. But by taking this into account, you can make your speech more personalized and easily accepted.
Knowledge of your listener’s interests will help you find content, examples, and stories to deliver in your speech that capture their attention. This’ll ensure they maintain their interest throughout your speech. And that’s essential for any public speaker!
Your audience is likely walking into the event looking to walk away with something. Perhaps they’re looking to obtain meaningful memories or newfound knowledge. Regardless of what it is, your listeners have expectations for the evening.
You’ll need to discover these expectations. If you understand what your audience is looking for, it’ll help you meet them halfway. That way, you can ensure they are satisfied with the experience.
Understanding their expectations allows you to align your speech goals with their needs. After all, one of your goals is to make sure your audience gets what they need! If they walk in hoping to gain some experience or useful knowledge, it’s up to you to deliver.
Meeting audience expectations enhances their satisfaction. Plus, it ensures your message resonates with them on a deeper level.
The flip side of audience expectations is their needs. This can help you create a speech that will truly resonate with them.
A big part of modern communication is providing solutions. Your audience is likely hoping your speech can help them overcome issues or challenges in their life. And by providing the answers they’re seeking, you can ensure your speech is a hit.
Assessing their needs beforehand will help you cultivate a touching and personal speech. But that’s not the only reason why addressing audience needs is important.
Addressing their needs directly demonstrates that you understand their concerns. And by positioning yourself as a helpful resource, you can effortlessly foster a stronger connection while bolstering your credibility.
Tailoring your speech to your audience’s needs can help you offer anything from valuable insights to practical solutions.
It’s important to focus on the facts and feelings of the audience when creating your speech, but you can’t forget about other outside factors. There are plenty of things that could possibly affect your audience analysis, but one of the most commonly overlooked is context.
It’s critical to consider the setting and the context in which the speech will be delivered. You wouldn’t perform a crude comedy act to a religious group, and you likely wouldn’t remain solemn and stone-faced to a group of high school students.
Even if the words you say are spot on, they won’t hit home if you don’t take into account the context of your speech.
Think about the setting of the speech, first and foremost. Is it a formal or informal setting? Is it a conference, a business meeting, or a public event?
Be sure to adapt your speech to your audience’s unique cultural or societal factors. For example, you shouldn’t use things like profanity if speaking to a group of professionals (though it’s best to steer clear of anything crude or distasteful no matter what!).
Adapting your speech to fit the context ensures that you establish rapport and maintain relevance with the audience. And that way, you can help foster a more effective and engaging experience for the listeners.
The bulk of audience analysis happens before the event. You’ll need to do plenty of research into your audience so that you can properly craft your speech.
However, there’s still plenty of analysis that happens while you’re on stage. In fact, you’re in a never-ending state of examination when it comes to public speaking!
When you’re speaking, you’ll need to focus on constantly evolving your speech. Your audience will react to your content as the evening goes on, and you need to be reactive to them!
Plan strategies to engage the audience throughout your speech. You need to capture their attention from the beginning, maintain their interest, and encourage their active participation.
That’s what will keep the evening alive!
Audience engagement is the foundation of a successful speech. Engaging the audience makes them feel involved, valued, and connected to your message. And that results in a more memorable and impactful speech.
Delivering a speech is about more than crafting witty lines and merely hoping the audience enjoys your performance. There’s plenty of preparation and skill that goes into it, and the foundation of it all stems from audience analysis.
With these eight tips, you’ll be able to analyze your audience like an expert and improve your public speaking skills!
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.