Understanding the Background, Attitudes, and Beliefs of the Audience Public speakers must consider their audience's background, attitudes, and views. Within a given period of time, the speaker should endeavor to reach the most accurate and effective analysis of her audience. This requires careful observation of the audience's behavior during the speech and may even require asking some direct questions.
The speaker must also consider his or her own attitude toward the audience and the topic at hand. A good public speaker will always try to maintain an objective perspective about the events of the day and the importance of others' opinions. However, it is impossible to be objective when speaking from the heart. A person cannot help but hold certain beliefs about topics such as politics or religion. Thus, a speaker must be aware of these beliefs and avoid expressing opinions that might cause conflict within the audience.
Finally, the speaker must understand her audience's needs and desires. Some audiences may want information on a specific topic covered in the speech, while others may simply want to enjoy hearing an interesting story told well. The speaker should try to meet these different needs and desires as best she can through careful planning of the talk.
These are just some of the many factors that go into creating an effective public speech. There are many other factors to consider including the type of event, the subject matter, timing, length, tone, etc.
The process of identifying an audience and tailoring a speech to their interests, degree of comprehension, attitudes, and beliefs is known as audience analysis. The term "audience analysis" does not imply "grandstanding" or "kowtowing" to the public. Rather, adaptability directs a speaker's stylistic and material choices for a presentation. Good speakers understand their audiences and tailor their presentations accordingly.
In general, speeches are tailored for one of three types of audiences: those who will directly benefit from what is being said (e.g., employees of a company who will benefit from information about promotions or raises); those who can influence others (e.g., customers) by what they say or do (i.e., presenters); and those who need to know that you are supporting them even though they cannot see you (e.g., leaders of organizations who are making decisions about your services).
Speeches are also tailored to different levels of complexity. Simple speeches use language that is easy to understand and remember; complex speeches use language that requires more thought before speaking so as not to confuse or intimidate the audience. For example, if you were giving a speech about the benefits of employee health insurance, a simple speech would use language such as "health insurance helps employees feel better about themselves and their jobs", while a complex speech might discuss how providing health insurance reduces employee turnover and increases productivity.
Finally, speeches are tailored to fit the time constraints within which they must be given.
A comprehensive audience study considers socio-demographic factors such as gender, age, language, and religion. Geographic variables such as where the audience resides and how this may influence behavior are provided. Needs, hopes, anxieties, and goals are examples of psychographic qualities. Financial considerations, including income levels, will affect what media people use.
The study also examines political attitudes by asking questions about who voters think will win elections, and what issues are most important to them. Attitudes toward government services such as police and fire protection are also assessed. Last, participants are asked about their values and opinions on social issues such as crime, abortion, gay rights, and health care.
These are just some examples of the types of questions that can be used to conduct an audience survey.