As speakers we all know the importance of properly preparing our material far enough in advance so we may have sufficient time to rehearse and "fine-tune" our speeches. Unfortunately, this is not enough to assure that your speech or presentation is well received. Your speech preparation must also include gathering information about your audience and their needs. A well prepared speech given to the wrong audience can have the same effect as a poorly prepared speech given to the correct audience. They both can fail terribly.
It is critical that your preparation efforts include some amount of audience analysis. The more you know and understand about your audience and their needs, the better you can prepare your speech to assure that you meet their needs. Speech preparation should use what I like to call the 9 P's.
Prior Proper Preparation
Prevents Poor Performance of the
Person Putting on the Presentation.
Nothing will relax you more than to know you have properly prepared. The stage fright or speech anxiety felt by many speakers is due to not knowing enough about the speaking environment or the audience. The more you know about your speaking environment and your audience, the more relaxed you will be when delivering your speech. Many speakers, however, often overlook the need to include any kind of audience analysis as part of their speech preparation. Proper audience analysis will assure that you give the right speech to the right audience. Most professional speakers send their clients a multi-page questionnaire in order to gather enough information about them and the speaking event to properly customize their speeches. Using the word "A-U-D-I-E-N-C-E" as an acronym, I have defined some general audience analysis categories that these surveys should include.
A nalysis - Who are they? How many will be there?
U nderstanding - What is their knowledge of the subject?
D emographics - What is their age, sex, educational background?
I nterest - Why are they there? Who asked them to be there?
E nvironment - Where will I stand? Can they all see & hear me?
N eeds - What are their needs? What are your needs as the speaker?
C ustomized - What specific needs do you need to address?
E xpectations - What do they expect to learn or hear from you?
Develop specific questions which fit into each of these eight categories and ask the client or audience to tell you what they want. Essentially, ask them what they need and give it to them.
Lenny Laskowski is an international professional speaker and President of LJL Seminars (tm), in Lenny Laskowski of Stratford, CT. He can be reached at 1-800-606-4855 or by email at President@LJLSeminars.com.