When does a speech or business presentation begin? Answer: As soon as it is assigned. That’s when preparation for the presentation begins and that preparation will be the single biggest factor in determining how well your presentation goes. Part of that preparation must include audience research. You must know your audience to be a successful speaker.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What does the audience know about me? Am I credible with them?
- What does the audience know about my topic?
- What are the audience’s views on my topic and purpose?
- How do audience members define themselves?
- How do the setting and occasion influence my audience?
- How will the audience be dressed?
- Are there cultural considerations?
- What matters to audience members? What do they value? What are they skeptical about?
- What are audience members interested in? What motivates them?
The answers to these questions can affect everything from the clothes you choose to wear to the words you choose to use. The more you understand your audience, the more effective you’ll be in connecting with them. And audience connection is really what it’s all about.