Generally you should look at your audience at least of the time
There is no foolproof recipe for good delivery. Each of us is unique, and we each embody different experiences and interests. This means each person has an approach, or a style, that is effective for her or him. This further means that anxiety can accompany even the most carefully researched and interesting message. Even when we know our messages are strong and well-articulated on paper, it is difficult to know for sure that our presentation will also be good. We are still obligated to do our best out of respect for the audience and their needs.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Admiral McRaven Leaves the Audience SPEECHLESS - One of the Best Motivational Speeches
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10 Ways to Engage Your Audience During an Important Meeting
While audience analysis does not guarantee against errors in judgment, it will help you make good choices in topic, language, style of presentation, and other aspects of your speech. The more you know about your audience, the better you can serve their interests and needs.
There are certainly limits to what we can learn through information collection, and we need to acknowledge that before making assumptions, but knowing how to gather and use information through audience analysis is an essential skill for successful speakers. As indicated earlier, demographic information includes factors such as gender, age range, marital status, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
In your public speaking class, you probably already know how many students are male and female, their approximate ages, and so forth. But how can you assess the demographics of an audience ahead of time if you have had no previous contact with them?
Whatever method you use to gather demographics, exercise respect from the outset. For instance, if you are collecting information about whether audience members have ever been divorced, be aware that not everyone will want to answer your questions. You must allow them their privacy. There are certain things you can learn about an audience based on age. People who are in their sixties today came of age during the s, the era of the Vietnam War and a time of social confrontation and experimentation.
They also have frames of reference that contribute to the way they think, but it may not be easy to predict which side of the issues they support. Gender can define human experience. Clearly, most women have had a different cultural experience from that of men within the same culture. Some women have found themselves excluded from certain careers. Some men have found themselves blamed for the limitations imposed on women.
Many factors influence our styles, including regional and ethnic backgrounds, family experience and individual personality. But gender is a key factor, and understanding its influence can help clarify what happens when we talk.
The Washington Post. Marriage tends to impose additional roles on both men and women and divorce even more so, especially if there are children.
Even if your audience consists of young adults who have not yet made occupational or marital commitments, they are still aware that gender and the choices they make about issues such as careers and relationships will influence their experience as adults. In fact, cultural continuity is now viewed as a healthy source of identity. We also know that subcultures and cocultures exist within and alongside larger cultural groups.
For example, while we are aware that Native American people do not all embrace the same values, beliefs, and customs as mainstream white Americans, we also know that members of the Navajo nation have different values, beliefs, and customs from those of members of the Sioux or the Seneca.
We know that African American people in urban centers like Detroit and Boston do not share the same cultural experiences as those living in rural Mississippi. Similarly, white Americans in San Francisco may be culturally rooted in the narrative of distant ancestors from Scotland, Italy, or Sweden or in the experience of having emigrated much more recently from Australia, Croatia, or Poland.
Not all cultural membership is visibly obvious. For example, people in German American and Italian American families have widely different sets of values and practices, yet others may not be able to differentiate members of these groups. Differences are what make each group interesting and are important sources of knowledge, perspectives, and creativity. There is wide variability in religion as well. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found in a nationwide survey that 84 percent of Americans identify with at least one of a dozen major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and others.
Summary of key findings. Even within a given denomination, a great deal of diversity can be found. For instance, among Roman Catholics alone, there are people who are devoutly religious, people who self-identify as Catholic but do not attend mass or engage in other religious practices, and others who faithfully make confession and attend mass but who openly question Papal doctrine on various issues.
Catholicism among immigrants from the Caribbean and Brazil is often blended with indigenous religion or with religion imported from the west coast of Africa. It is very different from Catholicism in the Vatican. The dimensions of diversity in the religion demographic are almost endless, and they are not limited by denomination.
Imagine conducting an audience analysis of people belonging to an individual congregation rather than a denomination: even there, you will most likely find a multitude of variations that involve how one was brought up, adoption of a faith system as an adult, how strictly one observes religious practices, and so on.
Yet, even with these multiple facets, religion is still a meaningful demographic lens. It can be an indicator of probable patterns in family relationships, family size, and moral attitudes. In your classroom audience alone, there will be students from a variety of academic majors. Every major has its own set of values, goals, principles, and codes of ethics. A political science student preparing for law school might seem to have little in common with a student of music therapy, for instance.
In addition, there are other group memberships that influence how audience members understand the world. Fraternities and sororities, sports teams, campus organizations, political parties, volunteerism, and cultural communities all provide people with ways of understanding the world as it is and as we think it should be. Because public speaking audiences are very often members of one group or another, group membership is a useful and often easy to access facet of audience analysis.
The more you know about the associations of your audience members, the better prepared you will be to tailor your speech to their interests, expectations, and needs. Education is expensive, and people pursue education for many reasons. Some people seek to become educated, while others seek to earn professional credentials. Both are important motivations.
If you know the education levels attained by members of your audience, you might not know their motivations, but you will know to what extent they could somehow afford the money for an education, afford the time to get an education, and survive educational demands successfully. The kind of education is also important. For instance, an airplane mechanic undergoes a very different kind of education and training from that of an accountant or a software engineer.
This means that not only the attained level of education but also the particular field is important in your understanding of your audience.
People choose occupations for reasons of motivation and interest, but their occupations also influence their perceptions and their interests. There are many misconceptions about most occupations. For instance, many people believe that teachers work an eight-hour day and have summers off. When you ask teachers, however, you might be surprised to find out that they take work home with them for evenings and weekends, and during the summer, they may teach summer school as well as taking courses in order to keep up with new developments in their fields.
If your audience includes doctors and nurses, you know that you are speaking to people with differing but important philosophies of health and illness.
Learning about those occupational realities is important in avoiding wrong assumptions and stereotypes. Earlier, we mentioned psychographic information, which includes such things as values, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs.
Authors Grice and Skinner present a model in which values are the basis for beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Grice, G. Mastering public speaking: The handbook 7th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson. Values are the foundation of their pyramid model. Values are usually stated in the form of a word or phrase. For example, most of us probably share the values of equality, freedom, honesty, fairness, justice, good health, and family.
These values compose the principles or standards we use to judge and develop our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. It is important to recognize that, while demographic information as discussed in Section 5.
We also acknowledge that people inherit some values from their family upbringing, cultural influences, and life experiences. The extent to which someone values family loyalty and obedience to parents, thrift, humility, and work may be determined by these influences more than by individual choice. By knowing about such notions ahead of time, you can address them in your speech.
Audiences are likely to have two basic kinds of preexisting notions: those about the topic and those about the speaker. Many things are a great deal more complex than we realize. Media stereotypes often contribute to our oversimplifications. In speaking to an audience that might have differing definitions, you should take care to define your terms in a clear, honest way. At the opposite end from oversimplification is the level of sophistication your audience might embody.
Your audience analysis should include factors that reveal it. Suppose you are speaking about trends in civil rights in the United States. You cannot pretend that advancement of civil rights is virtually complete nor can you claim that no progress has been made. It is likely that in a college classroom, the audience will know that although much progress has been made, there are still pockets of prejudice, discrimination, and violence.
When you speak to an audience that is cognitively complex, your strategy must be different from one you would use for an audience that is less educated in the topic. With a cognitively complex audience, you must acknowledge the overall complexity while stating that your focus will be on only one dimension.
You must decide whether it is ethical to represent your topic this way. When you prepare to do your audience analysis, include questions that reveal how much your audience already knows about your topic. Try to ascertain the existence of stereotyped, oversimplified, or prejudiced attitudes about it. This could make a difference in your choice of topic or in your approach to the audience and topic. People form opinions readily.
For instance, we know that students form impressions of teachers the moment they walk into our classrooms on the first day.
You get an immediate impression of our age, competence, and attitude simply from our appearance and nonverbal behavior. In addition, many have heard other students say what they think of us. The same is almost certainly true of you. Sometimes, however, you do know what others think.
They might think of you as a jock, a suit-wearing conservative, a nature lover, and so on. Based on these impressions, your audience might expect a boring speech, a shallow speech, a sermon, and so on. In order to help them be receptive, you address their interests directly, and make sure they get an interesting, ethical speech. The next type of analysis is called the situational audience analysis Audience analysis that focuses on situational factors such as the size of the audience, the physical setting, and the disposition of the audience toward the topic, the speaker, and the occasion.
The situational audience analysis can be divided into two main questions:.
When you give a speech, you are presenting much more than just a collection of words and ideas. In some speaking situations, the speaker appeals only to the sense of hearing, more or less ignoring the other senses except to avoid visual distractions by dressing and presenting himself or herself in an appropriate manner. But the speaking event can be greatly enriched by appeals to the other senses. This is the role of presentation aids.
If this is your first time registering, please check your inbox for more information about the benefits of your Forbes account and what you can do next! They were just guests. And your attention was strictly voluntary. Let me give you a reality check: Your audience will remember more about who sat with them than anything you say. In writing a speech, you have two objectives: Making a good impression and leaving your audience with two or three takeaways.
10 Keys To Writing A Speech
President in the movie The American President. Was this a simple mishap? A funny prank? Something more serious? His reputation as a politician? Assessing your attitudes and values toward this situation is the same as considering how ethics play a role in public speaking. Ethical public speaking is not a one-time event. It does not just occur when you stand to give a 5-minute presentation to your classmates or co-workers. Ethical public speaking is a process. This process begins when you begin brainstorming the topic of your speech.
Delivering an effective presentation
Delivery is a vital aspect of all presentations. Delivery is at least as important as content, especially in a multi-cultural context. Most speakers are a little nervous at the beginning of a presentation. So it is normal if you are nervous. The answer is to pay special attention to the beginning of your presentation.
Kathleen S. Verderber has consulted with various civic, professional, and business organizations. She has published numerous articles in several journals and has presented papers at communication and management conferences. Deanna D.
The Importance of Eye Contact during a Presentation
Positive eye contact helps you build rapport with your audience and keeps them engaged with your presentation. It also gives them a sense of involvement and conveys your message on a personal level. Here are the key benefits of eye contact followed by tips on how you can improve yours during a presentation. A deliberate look in the eyes of an audience member can communicate how much you care about their thoughts.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Dude Perfect: Backstage Pass - Official Documentary
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What Are Presentation Aids?
Audience engagement is an essential part of important meetings and presentations. Attention spans have become increasingly short. You only have a few minutes to pique the interest of your audience. Every time you take the stage -- whether in a small boardroom or large auditorium -- you compete against dozens of distractions. Your audience may be stressed from the commute, preoccupied with challenges at work or more interested in email than what you have to say. If you fail to connect with your audience, you may lose out on new business opportunities.