You can make a significant impact in public speaking if you put in a little effort to know your audience before making the speech. This does not have to be a mammoth task if you know the kind of questions to which you need to get answers.
1. What Are The Needs And Wants Of The Audience?
The topic of your speech is about what the audience needs to know. However, not everyone is excited about hearing what they need to know. It helps if you can figure out what they want to know.
To know your audience will require you to know how they perceive that the need will be of value to them. Just giving them the content will not be sufficient. It is important that you are able to show them what is in it for them to make an impact.
Just providing them the knowledge or content is only the first part but igniting enthusiasm about what you are talking about will be what will make the difference.
2. What Does The Audience Already Know?
It is so easy to bore your audience if you tell them what they already know.
Taking a little effort in finding out as much as you can about the audience you will address is actually your first step to helping succeed in making your speech. If they are new to this topic, then you will need to cover the basics. If not, then you may want to summarize the basics, before you continue with the rest.
It is also a good idea to inform the audience of the level of prerequisite knowledge required on the subject matter. There have been speakers who have been known to do a preparatory session for people who are new to the subject before actually doing the presentation proper. People, who already know basic content, are appreciative of this as they do not have to sit through information that they already know.
The intent of knowing your audiences’ knowledge level is not about impressing people with how much more you know than your audience. Rather, it is about imparting information and knowledge in such a way that will trigger something in the audience for them to make a decision and/or to take action.
3. What Does The Audience Understand?
Knowing a subject and understanding it are two completely different things. This whole idea of knowing but not understanding enough to get value out of what you hear is costing lots of people time and money.
People attend seminars and quite often they tell themselves that this is stuff that they know. Question is do they understand it sufficiently to take action. Even if they decide to take the first action, do they understand the underlying impact of how much work and actions are actually needed to complete what they are starting.
Again, the level of knowledge of the audience will have an impact on how detailed you may need to go to ensure that you can bring them to a level of understanding. Or, at least to inform the audience of the level of details that is covered in the session.
4. What Does The Audience Fear?
When you know your audience enough to know about what they fear, you can be in a very effective position.
Fear can be of two kinds. One is when the person fears something and the other is when the person does not fear.
Lots of people know and understand things but are afraid to take action. For these people, if what you say and how you say helps them to overcome their fear and give them confidence, then you know that you have done a good job. The audience will go away feeling good as they are in a much better position to take action.
This might be the case with people who want to start on internet marketing but are afraid to take the initial steps only because they have never done it before. Instead of just rushing over it, breaking it down in simple steps might make it simple enough for people to overcome their initial fears.
How about the audience that does not fear? In this case, there may be a need to share areas and extent of risk.
A good example of this would be anti-virus protection on personal computers not only for office but also at home. Speaking of the details of what is anti-virus protection and how it can be prevented is definitely good knowledge. Additionally, getting the audience emotionally involved in the kind of risk and loss that they will get into, will improve the extent of involvement in listening to you.
To know your audience does take a little bit of effort, but this is well worth it as you will have a much better impact and audience response. The next time you have a speech to make, get to know your audience and find out for yourself the difference that you can make both to your audience as well as for yourself.