Audience analysis involves identifying the audience and adapting a speech to their interest, level of understanding, attitude and beliefs. Audience refers to the listeners and receivers. It is important to carry out an audience analysis because it improves the effectiveness of the speaker and the credibility of the presentation.
It is also important to carry out an audience analysis because it creates a bond between the presenter and listeners. The factors to consider are demographics, psychological description, the audience`s interest and knowledge on the topic and the setting of the presentation.The communicator should consider the demographic factor when carrying out an audience analysis in preparation for an oral presentation. Demographics are literally a classification of the people. Whenever addressing an audience, it is generally a good idea to know about an audience, its age, gender, major year in school, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation (Benjamin, 1969). The presenter must know the age of the audience before presenting in order to gather information that can be best understood by the age group.
For instance, when presenting to primary school students the presenter must offer vocabulary best understood by the students, stay away from jargon from one range or another (Gamble and Gamble, 2013). The presenter must offer as significantly different tone from a presentation on the same topic for university students (Carpenter, ND). Henceforth, age is important to determine the relevance of the topic. In addition to demographics, speakers should find out if the audience is predominantly male or female. The presentation may be held to be of no value if the speaker favours one gender over another and in this case the issue of gender stereotyping. For example, a community may be dominated by females who are radical feminists and unaware, the presenter goes on to present to the men present that women should be below the men`s authority, that they should be weak and passive while men are strong and active. This will lead to the presentation being unacceptable because the presenter will be delivering a message that is against the gender dominant in the community. When presenting to an audience one must use words that re nor sex or gender-specific like assuming that all police employees are men and use policeman (Eisenberg and Wynn, 2013). Therefore, it is essential that a presenter is informed about the gender demographics before having an oral presentation.Religion and political affiliations must also be considered in preparation of an audience analysis. The speaker must have a research about the audience`s religious and political views. For example, one may be presenting to a Catholic Church community and the presentation he made is totally not in support of the church`s practices and beliefs. The audience may end up attacking the speaker or moving away from the presentation site. To avoid these circumstances, before making an oral presentation, one has to first have knowledge of the religion background of the listeners. It is important to realise that your audience will likely have a wide variety of religions represented and some may have no religious or spiritual beliefs (Gamble and Gamble, 2013). Moreover, in demographic factors the issues of ethnic, racial and cultural groups should be considered. The presenter may communicate his ideas full of racism, and unaccepting human diversity. The presentation will not be effective as it would have attacked the race available, different cultural groups. Hence, it is important that the speaker first consider human diversity and remove stereotypical concepts in the presentation for it to be credible.Moreover, the speaker must consider the language spoken by his audience in preparation for an oral presentation. The audience might want presentations to be delivered in their language or in a universal language. For example, In Zimbabwe, the presentation maybe written in Ndebele and among the audience there are the Shona. The speaker has to find out solutions to this problem, it is either he or she uses English or finds a translator for the effective communication of the message to all of the audience present. Moreover, when translating words, one must not use slang which can be confusing because many people speak different languages (Pearson et al, 2011). Understanding the audience`s demographics ensures that both the tone and topic are appropriate (Carpenter, ND).Still on demographics, the presenter must deal away with ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is assuming that your culture is dominant or better than other cultures (Titsworth et al, 2011). It is imperative to remember that one will be dealing with different people from different cultures and you should not have an oral presentation that seeks to question and silence the audience`s culture as this will create a block between you and the audience.Another factor to consider is the psychological analysis of the audience. Your hearers will already hold attitudes, beliefs, and values in the direction of the concepts you will certainly present. When performing a psychological description, you seek to identify the audience’s attitudes, beliefs, and values (Campbell & Huxman, 2003). As a result, it is always important to know where your audience stands on the issues you plan to address ahead of time and the best way to do this this may be to sample your audience with a questionnaire or survey prior to the event. One has to know the audience`s attitude toward the given presentation, basically an attitude is how people respond to matters in a favourable or unfavourable manner depending on the idea, event (Jastrow, 1918). For example, the oral presentation may be about gambling and prostitution and it is important to know whether your audience is in favour of the practises or not because they may end up being annoyed by your presentation because of criticising what they are into. Therefore, it is vital to first analyse how an audience thinks about the topic.In addition to the above factor of psychological description, values and beliefs must be included when carrying out an audience analysis. Beliefs are principles (Bem, 1970) or assumptions about the universe. As a presenter one has to know that people have different beliefs for instance the belief that we were created by God should not be assumed to be believed by everyone and for the presentation to be effective, the presenter should not centre it with his own beliefs because they may be totally different from the audiences`.Another factor to consider is the audience`s knowledge and interest, people have expectancy about the event, topic and speaker. Deviating from the audience`s expectations can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the presentation. For instance, a pastor may be invited to speak on a prize giving day of a particular school. The audience will expect the speaker to speak on issues regarding education and hard work in school for students. If the speaker takes advantage and preaches about his church services, the audience would be offended, and the presentation would lose credibility. One must know what the audience wants to hear, the audience must leave the site with all of their fears and interests being addressed. In addition, the presenter must not use puffery to blind the audience about alleged knowledge of the topic (Mc Quail, 1997), this is when the presenter has to know that there may be someone within the audience who knows more if not everything about the topic. The presenter must have full knowledge of their topic to avoid lying to an audience that knows as this will contribute to the presenter losing credibility.The setting of the presentation is also vital in delivering an effective presentation. The presenter must carry an analysis of where the presentation is to be held, the factors to consider include noise. The place must be free from noises from the cars, or surroundings around the place such as beerhalls because the presentation will be interrupted and leads people losing concentration. In addition, the issue of weather has to be considered again, for instance, when delivering a speech on a very hot day the presenter must find means to stop the audience from sleeping either by finding a place with too much air like presenting outside under a shed. Time must be considered also, some hours of the day are not suitable for a presentation to take place for example late in the afternoon when the audience might have been exhausted so the presenter must use various tools to keep them from being annoyed such as including humour, animation in order to keep the audience focused. The presenter may also include the audience to take part in the presentation so as to keep their attention.In conclusion, when planning a presentation, it is vital to keep the audience in mind, present it according to the information familiar to them for it to be credible. The essay has examined the factors to consider when carrying out an audience analysis which are demographic, interest and knowledge, psychological description and setting. Audience analysis equips the presenter with knowledge and skills to deliver effectively to an audience.