Audience Analysis: Becoming an audience-centered speaker

What is it?
Audience analysis is the process of examining information about the specific people for whom you will
design your message.
What questions does audience analysis answer?
 To whom am I speaking?
 What does my audience expect from me?
 What topic would be most suitable for my audience?
 What is my objective?
 What kind of information should I share with them?
 How should I present the information to them?
 How can I gain and hold their attention?
 What kinds of examples work best?
 What method of organizing information will be most effective?
Demographic analysis:
 age
 race
 gender
 education level
 religious views
 political views
 group affiliations
Attitudinal analysis:
 core structures
attitudes: likes/dislikes
beliefs: held to be true/false
values: enduring concepts of good/bad, right/wrong
 attitudes toward topic
Environmental analysis:
 How many people are expected to attend?
 How will the audience seating be arranged?
 How close will I be to the audience?
 Will I speak from a lectern?
 Will I be expected to use a microphone?
 Will I be on a stage or raised platform?
 What is the room lighting like? Will the audience be darkened?
 Will I have adequate room for my presentation aids? Will the equipment I need to use my
presentation aids be available?
 Will there be noise or distractions outside the room?
 Will I appear on a program? If so, where?
How to gather information about your audience:
 informally through conversations
 formally through the use of questionnaires
 formally through a fact-finding process
Heaton, Dan. Public Address lecture. Capital University, Columbus, OH. Fall 2003.
UNCG University Speaking Center, 256-1346, speakingcenter.uncg.edu