Speaking before a group of people consists of important elements. One of these key constituents is the audience. In a presentation, the listeners are one of the very essential components because they act as the judge to your performance. They also play a big role on the achievement of your presentation goals.
Without an audience, it would defeat the purpose of a presentation. The audience members may not really have to be a large number; even a one-man audience presentation is already considered a presentation in itself. However, in most cases, audience members usually come in a group or a team.
Understanding a Variety of Audience
Knowing your audience is one of the fundamental principles of a good presentation. An audience may vary according to age, gender, profession, and many other categories. In the preparation, consider asking yourself about their purpose of having you do a presentation and the kind of topic you are asked to talk about. If it is a work presentation in a certain company or organization, definitely you know your audience members.
You expect to see familiar faces and the kind of profession they are in. When you are planning to present a proposal, certainly big bosses and members of higher management in your organization will be present. If you are requested by your company to talk about money and finances, expect a group of businessmen and entrepreneurs to be your listeners. Your audience may somehow be diverse but one thing is common among them—their general interest in your presentation topic and ideas.
Do You Really Need to Know Your Audience?
So, in a presentation where you have no single idea who your audience will be, how will you get to know them before you even meet them? Is it even important to really know your audience prior to your presentation? You certainly should. Knowing your audience beforehand is part of preparation before a public speech or presentation. Remember that it is not all the time you expect to see familiar faces in a crowd. At times, you may not even recognize a single face.
In order to appear confident and impressive before your audience, conduct a research on the members or attendees of your presentation. Learn if majority share a common interest or belong to a specific audience category as the abovementioned. Find out what is important to them and what they really need. You may even want to know their current knowledge on the topic by conducting a survey prior to the day of presentation. This process will be smoother with the aid of the program committee. Just as you study the content of your speech or presentation, study also your audience.
Adjusting Yourself to Your Audience
Why is there a need to know them and what they need? Yes, it is indeed part of preparation so you will modify or suit yourself according to the kind of audience members you will have. In other words, think and develop your speech from the viewpoint of your audience.
Usually, presenters develop their presentation according to what they wish to convey or communicate to their audience and what they want the listeners to believe in. You might want to try doing it the other way around. Get what interests them and from there, target your speech on those interests. This would mean having to alter and modify your style, content, and manner of presenting according to who you will be speaking to.
One the day of the presentation, be there in the venue early. This is also one way of knowing them and adjusting yourself to them moments before the big performance. During the actual presentation, be very keen in observing their moves or gestures and their attire. Also figure out their manner of asking questions. Then you will have a good idea on how to alter yourself to suit them. Apparently, by being able to adjust to your audience, you will have a smooth presentation outcome.
Give utmost importance to knowing your audience in your preparation period. The challenge is learning how to modify yourself for your listeners to target their needs. In order to successfully do this, study your audience and get to know them before you meet them.