Audience Analysis and Speaking Material

Q.How does your audience analysis help you to determine the type of supporting material you need?

A. Good question. First, let's consider a case study. Say that we're giving a sales speech for shoe polish, and we've done a bit of analysis. Our audience this time around consists largely of mid-40s businessmen working mid-level jobs for financial companies. What kind of appeals should we make?

Here are some ideas:

  • Most of these people are probably pretty set in their jobs and decently content with their careers. So you're not going to be talking about how, with nicely shined shoes, they'll move quickly up the ranks.

  • You can, on the other hand, speak about the small differences that they'll make in interaction with managers, supervisors, and bosses. These types of more subtle appeals will be much more in line with their experience and needs.

Now take a different situation. Suppose you're talking to a group of just-out-of-college aspiring graduates. What kinds of things would you appeal to?

  • New and sharp. No one wants old and sloppy-looking shoes, especially people looking to enter a tough job market!

  • First impressions, interviews, etc. Most of your middle-aged audience would be past this kind of thing, but your young audience is prime for this kind of appeal with interviews and new acquaintances waiting with every new opportunity.

Audience analysis is important. The better you know your audience, the more successful you can be!

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