This article is part two on Audience Analysis in a three part series on preparation. Part one covers the Speaker Request Intake Form and includes questions you would ask and research about the host, the event, the talk, the audience and the venue.
While questions about the audience are part of the intake, audience analysis requires its own separate focus and article. When you learn about your audience, your confidence will build.
It’s important to understand that confident speakers are not arrogant; they are like magnets, attracting their audience with their charm, wit, authenticity, and confidence. And, preparation is THE key for building confidence. You see, the more prepared you are, the more confident you will become. And, audience analysis will help you be prepared in many ways!
As a result of properly researching your audience, you will understand their needs. Consequently, this information will guide you in preparing a talk where your anecdotes, stories, and info that will relate specifically to your audience. They will love it and you!
What Can Happen When You Do Audience Analysis
The mistake that many speakers make is not knowing anything about their audience. Most noteworthy is that every talk is about the audience; it’s certainly not about the speaker!! Furthermore, talks, great and small, are about what the audience will do with the information. Ask yourself: Do I want my audience to be inspired, motivated, or take a certain action? Whatever they do with the information you impart, you need to understand them to effectively deliver your message.
A case in point: When one of my coaching clients was asked to speak to a group of high schoolers about college, I asked if these seniors were interested in college. Because she replied that she didn’t know, I asked her to ask the organizer. Consequently, she found out that the students were at risk of dropping out. As a result, they scrapped the presentation and set up counseling with each of the students. Because they now understood the students’ needs, they were able to develop a program that would be more effective. It was so easy to learn about the students which changed everything! Audience analysis is crucial to an effective presentation.
3 WAYS TO DO AUDIENCE ANALYSIS
Ask the event organizer about the attendees – see below for what to ask, and ask for the list of registrants and a list of who attended – they may or may not give it to you but you won’t know unless you ask.
After you talk with the organizer, research the host.
Review their website and social media profiles.
Learn about them too.
Then research their current and past events and the individual audience members.
Review their websites and social media profiles as well.
AUDIENCE ANALYSIS AREAS TO RESEARCH
These are the 3 areas that you must research about your audience –
ask the organizer, use your own knowledge, and do your research:
Why this audience?
- Why this audience?
- Why are they attending?
- Do they have a common interest?
- Is their attendance mandatory?
- What is their expectation from your talk?
- How well do you know them?
- How well do they know you?
- How familiar or unfamiliar are they with your topic?
- Are they more knowledgeable about your topic than you?
- What are their beliefs, values, and emotions towards my topic?
- Is their interest in your topic high, moderate, low and why?
- Does the audience understand your role?
- What are the key similarities and/or difference with you?
- What concepts, processes or tools are they familiar with?
- What motivates this group?
Description & Demographics
- What is their primary language and age range?
- Are they women or men or both (indicate percentage of each)?
- What is their education level, religious orientation, economic background, racial/ethnic/cultural description (if mixed, indicate percentages), job titles, personality types, and other background information?
- Are they peers/superiors/subordinates?
- What have they been through recently?
- What is the anticipated energy level of the audience?
- What will they be doing before and after my talk?
As a result of your research, you may find that you are not be able to answer all of these questions. However, if you at least attempt to answer all of them, you will gather enough information to know what to avoid and what to include in your talk. Consequently, you can create a talk your audience can relate to and love!