Online Public Speaking

Training & Practice

Understanding Your Audience

The next step in becoming proficient at public speaking is to understand your audience. Now that you have the right goals, motivations, and a passionate topic, you need to consider that your speech is really about giving something TO the audience and obtaining your desired response. Consider what the audience is looking for. You have ideas about what is most important to you, but what is important to them?     

For instance, if you have been called to introduce an award recipient with whom you have a longstanding personal friendship, keep in mind that the audience may not be interested in hearing small details about your friendship with that person. 

Don’t say things like “Matt and I play golf every Thursday. Tee-off time is three o’clock. He and I even use the same kind of Ping golf clubs.”  That’s going to be boring to most audience members and they want, and deserve, more than that.

Find grand subjects and unique viewpoints, such as “What’s great about Matt is how he gives his time unselfishly to people. I know many people in this room will agree that he’s the kind of guy that’s always there for you when you need him. He even finds time to play golf now and then with this old college buddy to keep our friendship going.”

In both examples the presenter is using a passionate subject – his friendship with Matt, but one version will probably bore the audience while the other won’t. As you head into your next presentation, find a way to connect your passions and ideas with what the audience needs, wants and expects to hear.