Without question one of the major contributors to the successful delivery of a speech is to have your audience all feel as if you are talking directly to them. The ability to connect at a “heart level” greatly increases the bond you have with your audience and leads to a well-received presentation.
It does not matter if your speech is a keynote presentation or a platform selling situation. If you understand the demographics of your audience then you can better tailor your content in order to connect at a deeper level with the crowd.
What You Should Know About Your Audience
So what types of information would you want to know in advance of a presentation about the audience that might help you do a better job? This list is not necessarily all-inclusive, but is a good starting point for you.
- Is your audience primarily male or female?
- What is the average age of the audience? Are you talking to teens, baby boomers, senior citizens, etc.?
- Where are the audience attendees from? Is it a local crowd, a regional gathering, national or international?
- What is their educational background?
- What type(s) of businesses are represented in the audience?
(For example, you would not want to use a bunch of real estate examples if you are talking with a group of restaurant owners)
- Is it a G – PG – PG13 – R – or “F Bomb” type of crowd?
- Have you delivered a presentation to this same audience previously?
- If it is a multiple speaker event, who else is sharing the platform and what will they be talking about?
Much of this information should be available from the event promoter. Large events that have been held many times in the past also often have sponsorship packets that contain great demographic information about the attendees because they are trying to attract sponsorship money. But you can use this information also to learn more about the audience to which you will be speaking.
If you are delivering a keynote presentation, particularly to a single corporate client then you will want to do some research to try to figure out who the “movers and shakers” are within the audience. A great way to find this information is to simply call the main switchboard of the company for which you will be presenting. Explain you are delivering a keynote for them at their upcoming event and ask the gatekeeper about the key people who will be attending.
You would be amazed at the kind of information you can gather that will enable you to craft your presentation specifically for that company. When you have the ability to acknowledge key people in the audience during the course of your presentation you really can connect at a much deeper level.
Remember, the more that you can address the specific pain point(s) of the group you will be speaking to the more receptive your audience will be to your presentation. When they feel that you are talking directly to them you come across as much more professional because you have taken the time to truly understand their needs and to deliver information that will be of benefit to them.