No matter how large or how small your audience may be, being a public speaker it is really important to know your audience beforehand so that you can give them what they want. There are many things you may do before your presentation to give your best.
You must speak from their point of view and consider the importance of the topic to them. What are they here for? What they want to take back home from your presentation? How much they are already aware about the topic? While answering all these questions, you must also keep in mind that all the people in the audience may be different from one another. Your better understanding will make you deliver better. This would also help your listeners to respond to you in the way you expect as in public speaking generally the speaker speaks much more than the audience.
Here are a few things you could do or you need to do before the event.
- Know an approximate number of people who would be attending your event. This would also help you get sufficient handouts for them, preparing proper visual aids (if they are to be used) for them.
- Know the demographics- age, gender, family background, nationality, education etc.
- Visit the place if possible to know the layout of the room. If you need anything extra, you may request for the same beforehand to avoid any inconvenience.
- Know the level of the audience. Ask the event manager/organizer to know what kind of audience they expect, what is the level of knowledge of the audience (beginner/intermediate/advance) in the subject you are going to take. This would also help you in building a rapport and connection with the audience.
- For public speaking, you should know the first language of the audience so that you can prepare and speak accordingly.
- Ask about the time allotted to you and the time your audience expects.
- The style of presentation preferred by the audience.
- While speaking, you must analyse whether your audience agrees with your points, whether they are ready to accept any new ideas given.
- It is good to leave the stage before your audience asks you to so keep judging the mood of the audience.
Knowing all this and more about your audience would make your speech/talk interesting for the audience. It is better to have an engaged audience than just a large audience. A speaker is successful if he is able to satisfy the audience.