A speaker must really understand who he or she is speaking to in order to make the desired impact. Find out whether the audience attending the event is predominantly religious, business, educational or traditional in nature. Take time to understand their demographics, gender, age, language and the predominant area of professional engagement, among others.
Appropriate profiling helps you to choose relevant examples and even the right language and tone of voice to enable you to connect appropriately to your audience. If you had to speak to a group of young Christians about making an impact in their youth, being aware that they are predominantly female might influence you to speak about Esther rather than Joseph.
If a group of health professionals invited me to speak on excellence, I would use role models like Florence Nightingale, Ben Carson, Easmon and Frimpong-Boateng as examples to help connect the audience to my message.
Understanding your audience involves more than knowing which broad category of people is in attendance. Even within the same category, there are peculiar interests that could influence your presentation or its impact.
For example, if you are speaking at an educational event, you must be interested in the participants’ educational level. Are they SHS level, polytechnic students, tertiary level, graduates, lecturers, researchers or educational policy formulators? Is the audience a mix of these groupings? Do they have a common or collective interest in certain peculiar issues? Is there a major development in their industry in the recent past?
In the corporate world, if you happen to be addressing staff of a company or industry where people are being laid off, you are likely to be confronted with a sense of uncertainty, mistrust and suspicion. Knowing this could influence your choice of topic, the tone of your presentation or your use of examples.
As a speaker, the more you know about your audience, the better it gets.
By: Albert Ocran