1 MPS Chap. 5 Audience analysis and Adaptation Rhetorical function: adjusting ideas to people and people to ideas (and more). Public speaking is deeply audience-centered. Because it operates as (more or less) a monologue, you must prepare beforehand by becoming as acquainted as much as you possibly can with your intended audience and use this acquaintance to ‘tailor’ the speech—to anticipate the audience’s interests. The more you know about your audience’s knowledge & interests, the better you will be able to identify your ‘ways’ with the audience’s ‘ways’—these identifications may unite you with audiences as they may feel ‘more at home’ with you. However, you must do this within the bounds of decorum—we’re not talking about simple flattery—we’re talking about making adjustments and maintaining your integrity—or—taking a self-inventory and finding legitimate and real intersections of identification (for example—talking to a group of soldiers, you may mention a family member’s military experience—watch out though—these kinds of gestures can sometimes appear to be forced and beside the point). Bottom line: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!! Analyze your audience before your speech Demographics Discover what you can about the various divisions, sections, or subgroups that constitute your listeners—audience segmentation Audience targeting involves speaking only to one or more segments of a larger audience Factors to consider: (they all attach to interests) Age Gender Ethnicity Education Religion Economic status Group membership/identifications Etc. Psychographics Values—express judgments of what is desirable/undesirable Beliefs—accept as true—usually stated as a declarative statement Attitudes—expressions of approval/disapproval Behaviors—observables you can infer some of the above from 2 Analyzing psychographics: PEW Research Center: http://people-press.org/ Gallup: http://gallup.com/home.aspx Needs Physiological Safety Belongingness & love Esteem Self-actualization VALS—Values and Lifestyles Typology The most recent refinement in psychographic segmentation Survivors: poor, ill-educated, low-skilled, without strong social bonds, elderly, passive Makers: practical people who have constructive skills, value selfsufficiency, and have enough income, skill and energy to carry out their projects successfully Strivers: seek motivation, self-definition, and approval from the world around them Believers: conservative, deeply moral, conventional people with concrete beliefs based on traditional values Experiencers: young, enthusiastic, impulsive, and rebellious Achievers: successful career and work-oriented people who like to feel in control of their lives Thinkers: mature, well-educated, professional people with incomes that provide them satisfaction and comfort Innovators: successful, active people with high self-esteem and abundant resources For more information on VALS go to: http://www.sric-bi.com/VALS/presurvey.shtml Analyze specific speaking situations Types of audiences: Reasons for attending speech: Voluntary audience Captive audience 3 Disposition of audience: How audience is inclined to react to the speaker and her or his speech: Favorable Unfavorable Neutral Uninterested Uninformed Undecided Size of audience: Intimacy factors—relate to delivery—amplifiers, TV, etc. Occasion of speech: Why is this audience gathering? What the reason for the speech? History of the occasion? Recent history of the group? Formal/informal Physical Environment: Manipulate the environment to your advantage whenever you can. Try to find something out about it—even ‘try it out’ or set up a mockup Time: Key constraint—when, and for how long, and what’s before and after me (see above) 6.00 a.m. versus 9.00 a.m. Make your own surveys: http://www.surveymonkey.com/ Analyze your audience during your speech Watch those non-verbal cues—but don’t get too caught up in any one person’s demeanor Assess: audience attention or interest Assess: audience understanding Assess: audience evaluation Adjust and respond Repeat a point Increase volume Use an analogy Liven up that vocal variety Make & hold eye contact Etc. 4 Analyze your audience after your speech Do some post-speech analysis: Did you accomplish what you hoped you would? What do you sense were the strongest aspects of the speech? What were the weakest? How would you rate the content, organization, delivery, word choice of the speech? What can you do to improve these aspects of your speech? Survey audience members Reflect on your performance Have the speech recorded & review it! So—the best speeches are the ones that seem exactly right for the audience to whom they are delivered Such an accomplishment requires careful audience analysis before, during and after the delivery of the speech.