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Friday, May 16, 2008

Public Speaking Via An Audience Centered Approach


Every public speech, regardless of its purpose, is always meant for an audience. Your audience could range from young children to corporate executives.
However, regardless of the composition of your audience, you must be prepared to analyse them in order to engage them effectively in the course of your speech.

So, how are you to achieve this? Here are 3 easy steps that you could apply

Step 1: List down the Needs of the Audience

In the first step, you need to identify what the audience should take away from your speech. What is their objective for coming to this talk?

Approach this situation from the audience’s point of view. Why is the audience here? What’s in it for them to be here? What sort of material are they looking for? Are they seeking information, inspiration or entertainment perhaps? Perhaps a combination of all three reasons? These factors have to be considered when planning your speech.

Step 2: Assess the Audience

The next step is to assess the audience. We can keep this in mind using the acronym KILL.

K – Knowledge
What is the knowledge level of the audience? Are they well informed of the subject matter or are they encountering this topic for the very first time?

I – Interest
Is the audience eager to listen? Or will they be hostile?

L – Language
Will the audience be familiar with the language of this presentation?

L – Level
What is the level of the audience? Will the audience consist of a homogeneous group such as a class of school children? Or will it contain people from all walks of life? In the latter case, the presenter will need to strike a good balance to appeal and meet the needs of the entire group.

By KILLING the audience, you will have a better idea of the technical level which you will be going to pitch the idea at.

For technical presentations, you might check out the article Presentation Tips for the Technical Professional for tips that can help you in making presentations of a technical nature.

Step 3: Decide on the outcome

Remember to maintain the focus on the audience. Based on the type of speech, you will need to decide beforehand what you want the audience to know, (for the case of an informative speech).

For a motivational speech, you will be required to know what you want them to feel. (Motivated, inspired or excited?)

Alternatively, for a speech which seeks a call for action, do decide beforehand what you want them to do with your message or information. Do you want them to use it? Or perhaps to be invited back for further events? You will have to decide beforehand before you even start crafting your speech.

This three step process should be the very first step in planning a speech. This allows you to focus and narrow the scope of your presentation allowing it to be more focus and relevant. After you have completed analysing your audience, you might consider preparing your speech according to the following six steps process.
I hope that with this recommended structure, you will be able to effectively wow your audience with a great prepared speech. Be a better communicator today!

You might also be interested in the following
- 10 Attention Grabbers for Better Public Speaking
- The 3 Simplest Steps to a Better Vocal Presentation
- Control your Presentation Fears


Buffedstuff said...

very informative thanks

Anonymous said...

Good info.

KILL is very creative - I've never seen that one before. It's also easy to remember, so I'm sure people will be able to put it to use.


Deni said...

wow, that "kill" thing was rather well put! Thanks :)

Wenbin Nah said...

Thanks everybody for your kind comments!!!

Anonymous said...

Yet another great post!

Audience Centered Approach is the new 'in' thing now. In fact, that's what National Institute of Education is trying to drill into graduating teachers' mind. lol

But the tendency for people is to teach the way they are taught, which is often not the best method.

Stumbled! :)