Public Speaking: ANALYZING AUDIENCE AND SITUATION
OBJECTIVES • Explain what it means to read an audience • Define demographics and understand their role in preparing speeches • Identify the most important demographic characteristics of an audience • Identify strategies for audiences that AGREE with you, DISAGREE with you, or are APATHETIC.
Reading an Audience • Reading an audience means trying to understand the audience’s background • Depends on SITUATION, PURPOSE, and AUDIENCE
Demographics • Demographics: statistical information about groups of people • The more you know about your audience the easier it will be to prepare for your speech • Most audiences have something in common • Demographics can help you decide how to use language, tone, arguments, examples, jokes – even how long you should talk
Demographic Characteristics • Age – most important characteristic – influences the amount of knowledge an audience has, as well as their attitudes, values, and interests • Gender – male or female – few topics are clearly men’s and women’s, but they still have different attitudes • Occupation – influences audiences way of life, interests, and attitudes
Demographic Characteristics (cont.) • Educational background – helps you avoid two big mistakes – talking down to your audience or talking over their heads; helps speaker decide upon language and content of speech • Religious background – affect person’s views on topics such as divorce, abortion, war, drinking, and family • Political background – Republican/Democrat
Demographic Characteristics (cont.) • Ethnic or Cultural Background – Ethnic groups are groups of people who are tied together by religion, race, culture, or national origin; need to know the language, interests, and customs of audience; be sensitive to ethnic and cultural differences • Socio-economic Background – helps define audience attitudes and interests (Blue Collar/White Collar; low - middle – upper class, Yuppies, DINKS
Demographic Characteristics (cont.) • Note: Demographics are statistical aids for a speaker, but they ARE NOT a substitute for treating people as individuals • Don’t treat your audience as a lump of statistics • Audiences who feel you care for individuals will be far likelier to trust you
Audience Strategies • Attitude: state of mind of something • Audience members fall into 3 categories based on their attitudes: AGREEING, DISAGREEING, or APATHETIC
AGREEING AUDIENCE • Don’t spend too much time winning over the audience. Avoid long introductions. No need to provide background information. • Affirm what the audience knows. Restate the audience’s own beliefs. • Make sure your speech touches all bases. Don’t leave out any information that the audience agrees with • State the purpose EARLY so members develop positive feelings early • Express appreciation, gratitude, and admiration for your audience’s attitude
DISAGREEING AUDIENCE • Don’t set your goals too high. Establish a common ground. Find something that everyone can agree on. • Wait until later in the speech to state your topic and point of view • Support your ideas with proof/evidence • If an audience member debates you: A. Acknowledge their view fairly B. State your own point of view and C. Provide proof, support or evidence of your point
Apathetic Audience • Apathy: “I don’t care” attitude • Develop a strong, interest-grabbing introduction • Show the audience how the topic affects them • Build your speech using high interest examples, stories, and statistics • Use HUMOR
Questions to think about to understand Audience • What is the occasion of the speech? • What do the audience members have in common? • Where is the speech taking place? • How long should the speech be? • What comes before and after the speech?