Know the Audience in Public Speaking | ANurag Aggarwal
presentation skills, public speaking


In my previous post, I elaborated upon the physical issues that can be hazardous for public speaking like the lectern, sound system, or the electricity failure etc. Other than these issues, some other issues may also arise; issues related with the audience that need to be taken care of in order to make our presentation better and impressive.

Even after ensuring that all the physical arrangements are in order, the audience is also as per our expectation, there is a probability that they may lose confidence in you. They may get turned off by something said by you or by some of your remarks or your attitude towards them.

Here we are discussing some of the reasons that may put off the mood of the audience towards you or your presentation.

1. There are times when the speaker starts with an apology like “Sorry but I am not sure what to say at this moment” or “The topic is really vast and I am not sure if I can give my best on this topic in this limited time”.

I would recommend that you do not use such statements as these kind of statements would make your audience turn negative towards you right in the beginning of your talk.

2. Humor is an essential component of a speech. However, you need to be careful about the choice of jokes that you are going to be sharing with the audience as some people may not be comfortable with a particular kind of humor.

Do avoid cracking jokes on a particular race, caste or sex. Also, if you are going to retail some dirty joke, it is imperative that you know your audience very well before doing as such jokes may cause embarrassment to some people.

3. Avoid the use of jargons in the speech. Jargons are ‘special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand’. If you have to use any kind of technical words, make sure that your audience is able to understand it.

Excessive use of jargons or technical words or slangs, may make your audience lose interest in your speech if they are not able to understand what you wish to say.

4. When retailing facts and figures, confirm that they are from an authentic source. It is not easy to get away with misleading information or incorrect data. Don’t forget that you have a knowledgeable audience, if not the entire audience then at least some of them are sure to know about it.

Try to inculcate the most recent data. Also, do not present too much of such information as the audience may not be to able to grasp all of it. They may just lose track and end up getting confused.

5. Every speaker is usually given a time limit to complete his speech. As a speaker, you must respect that time limit and finish your speech within the allotted time. If by any chance, it gets extended, then only 2-5 minutes are acceptable but after that the audience would have no interest in listening to you. You are always appreciated if you finish your presentation within the specified time.

6. Prepare your presentation well in advance to avoid any kind of embarrassment in front of the audience. Preparation would not only give you better ideas for your presentation but will also enhance your confidence. The audience is good enough to judge if you are well prepared or not.

These are just some of the issues that you may have to face. Whatever challenges you may come across, have the courage to face it and find a solution for it. You are speaking for your audience so make sure to speak at their level. Give them something they can remember, their take-home should be interesting and valuable, something that makes them feel that it was worth it. Leave a positive impression on their minds. Build a rapport with them.

Grab opportunities, keep practicing and keep growing in public speaking.


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