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Repost: You are a believer and you are delivering a speech on Relevance.

There are 3 important reasons to know your audience well before delivering a sermon or speech on any subject. While this particular topic is about relevance, the 3 reasons you should know you audience well before delivering a speech applies to any topic.

The following 3 reasons:

  1. Know what brought your audience before you and what makes them tick. If you don’t know this your words may fall flat.
  2. To write and deliver an effective oral presentation one must prepare before execution.
  3. Keep your content fresh, interesting and relevant to the moment.

I leaned that the above three tips are also helpful if you are delivering a speech in front of an audience of friends and family as well. After all anybody willing to voluntarily listen to something you have to say deserves a professional well prepared expression of topic just as much as one presented in a public place. When a speech is designed for adults and children the speaker needs to be audience-centered.

Engaging in dialog designed to reach dual-aged audiences requires the application of age-appropriate ideas and creative delivery methods.

In this example, convening in a large family room or around a dinner table forces the speaker to deliver his or her speech in a small space which can feel more personal, and challenging if a topic fails to keep the audiences attention. It is helpful to identify traits of the audience that are unique to the speaking situation at hand. In a family setting where children are present a speaker would need to have pre-researched alternate ways to present the speech and include nutritional materials and information designed for children.

Visual aids should include but not be limited to; colorful, flash cards, organic snacks and may include fresh vegetables, fruit and other healthy snacks to assist the speaker in successfully engaging the children.

Delivering a speech that takes place before professional women who get together for a meal every month in a side room in their favorite restaurant also takes place in close quarters. However, since the room is in a public place, the audience may have time constraints dictated by the average time it takes to have dinner in a restaurant. The occasion dictates how long a speech should be and should be taken into consideration.

Knowing how much time is allocated for specific speeches gives the speaker an opportunity to avoid situations that result in annoying or holding audiences over too long.

The golden rule of time and speeches is to not exceed the time you have to give your speech under any circumstances. When speaking in food establishments during or after audiences have been served, a speaker has to be entertaining enough to hold the audience’s attention over dinner. Analyzing and monitoring the audience’s is imperative.

You are a high school history teacher and you are giving a speech on the Vietnam War.

Conducting a situation analysis that includes examining the physical setting and disposition of the audience helps the speaker determine what if any physical aids can be used or if encompassing additional resources would be helpful. When invited to speak at an event it helps to speak the person who organized the presentation, walk through the space in advance.

Special attention should be taken before speaking to elderly audiences. Completing audio checks, reviewing seating arrangements and distance between  the speaking and audience should be done to make sure that the audience will be able to comfortably sit and listen to the speaker.

Your second audience is a group of young international students from the local university. Listeners may have racial ethnic or cultural perspective that could affect a speakers attitude toward a speech subject. Regardless of where you are speaking, cultural perspectives of must be taken into consideration.

People born between 1981 and 2000 are the millennial generation, the most most racially and ethnically diverse generation and US history. However, speakers are wise to be perceptive of all cultural backgrounds and craft speeches in a way as not to offend various races whenever possible.

What will you want to know ahead of time?
How the audience might respond to my speech. Everything I need to know about my topic to make it interesting informative and relevant. It also helps to be able to adapt to the audience.
To set two step outside of your own frame of reference and see things from another person’s point of view is a real achievement.
How can you get the information? Research the internet, interview speakers who have spoken on similar subjects, read books on the topic.

How will you adapt your speech given the differences in the two groups?

Focusing on the audience, being “audience centered” and adapting a speech for different groups requires sound knowledge of the topic one plans to speak about. Audiences expect to listen to well-informed speakers and feel as though their time is well-spent when they leave more knowlegible than when they arrived. Above average organizational skills are also important to successful public speaking.

Adding a few personal relevant details about my personal life can go a long way in making a speech sound human or relatable.  Audience analysis that focuses on situational factors such as the size of the audience, the physical setting for the speech and the disposition of the audience is useful. It identifies traits of the audience unique to the speaking situation at hand.

How will you connect personally with your audience (regardless of your gender, age, education, or stage of life)? First, put myself in my audiences shoes. Listen to my speech with my own ears; prepare to receive, answer and adapt to potential questions from the audience.

Preparing speeches or sermons that draw solid responses require gathering insight on perspective audiences.

Recognizing that people are egocentric, mostly concerned with their own values beliefs and well-being is important as is an ability to tailor coherent and impressive dialog. This is where knowing the psychology of the audience can be helpful as well.

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