Knowing Your Audience

There are many elements one has to look into before writing a speech. One of the most helpful things to do before preparing your speech is to know who your audience is. This is helpful because there will be many times when we will have to give a speech whether it is at work, community gatherings, special occasions or various social events. Morreale, Spitzberg & Barge (2007) say that “the number one reason a speech fails to achieve its goal is because the speaker does not know his or her audience well enough (Morreale, Spitzberg & Barge pg. 280)”. Your goal when giving a speech can be to inform, persuade or entertain. To achieve any of these goals, you should know your audiences interests, likes, and dislikes. You might not want to give the same speech to a group of young adults that you would to a group of seniors. The content can be the same but the way you say things has to be tailored to the way your audience speaks. Knowing this tip will help keep your audience interested in what you are saying. However, there will be times in which you will not know your exact audience. During your speech you can get a good feel of who your audience is and therefore change your speech to accommodate your audience. Knowing the audience’s personal characteristics will then allow you to create a speech which better suits those listeners. Another thing you want to learn about your audience is their cultural characteristics. These characteristics can include “biological sex, race, ethnicity, clubs, political parties, or other sorts of organizations. When you identify your audience’s cultural characteristics you are then able to create a more effective speech that appeals to your audience’s cultural diversities. Knowing who your audience is before creating your speech can help you direct your message and deliver it clearly to your audience and these tips will help you achieve that.


Morreale, S., Spitzberg, B., & Barge, K. (2007). Human communication: Motivation, knowledge, and skills. (2nd ed., pp. 280-283). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

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