Audience Analysis & Public Speaking

by Bob Walsh

This is part 3 of our series on public speaking. (For the full series, check out Part 1: Basics of Public Speaking).

Audience analysis & public speaking go together like a doctor’s diagnosis and a medical treatment. You don’t go into a clinic and then have a doctor just do some procedure with you – instead, the doctor first does some checks to assess what your current health status is and then determines a plan of treatment.

The same way, if you want to give a public speak, you should know what your audience needs first.

There are really three things that you really, really need to know about your audience:

What’s Their Pain?

The first thing is you need to understand their pain, you need to know what keeps them up at night, you need to know the biggest problem, challenge or obstacle  they are facing, what they are afraid of.

What’s Their Goal?

The second thing that you really need to understand about your audience is what they want, what they want to achieve, what their goal is, what they wish for. What is their biggest dream?

How Can You Help?

And third thing that you need to understand about your audience, is how can you be of service to them, how you can help them, how can you solve their problem or help them to solve their problem, how can you make their life better.

public speaking advice

Audience analysis is really the first step you do before you do anything else about a public speech, you want to understand your audience and you want to be able to answer these three questions about your audience:

  1. what is their pain,
  2. what is their goal,
  3. and how can you help them.

And you write your speech around that you design your speech around all these three questions. They are foundation of everything else that you do and everything that you will deliver on stage.

But how do you get this information?

The Science of Sleuthing

How do you find out what is their pain, how do you find what is their goal and how do you find out how you can help them well?

The easiest way and actually the best way is to simply talk with your audience first. And I don’t mean get on stage and talk to them and ask them questions, because people are usually not willing to open up when they’re talking from the audience.

But just think about who is your target audience and then find the person that you can talk to in private, long before you even start writing your speech, let along getting on stage and just have a conversation with them where you ask them as many questions as you can.

What kind of questions should you ask? And what other ways are there to gather information about your audience? Well, that’s what our next part in this series is about:  Audience analysis in public speaking.

In the meantime, if you want to become really great a public speaking, check out the 10 steps to powerful public speaking program.