A lot of conventional wisdom about public speaking advises the speaker to “know their audience.” That’s fine advice as far as it goes, but in practice, it’s hard to implement. Audiences are big, varied, and want different things. How can one speaker know them all?
Instead of trying to know your audience, I suggest the following: Be interesting to your audience. And because that’s also easier said than done, think about these steps to do it:
- What’s the event? Why did these people come here?
- What do they need?
- If you were sitting in the audience, what would you want to hear?
- And finally, how can you structure and deliver your talk in a way that interests them? Can you use a combination of data, stories, examples, and visuals to bring the message to them? Can you animate your delivery to demonstrate your own interest in your material?
One thing we know for sure about audiences is that they do not want to be bored. So let your goal be, at minimum, to interest them.