Knowing your Audience (Public Speaking 105) // Adapting and Customizing Your Message | Armando Cuervo | Skillshare

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Knowing your Audience (Public Speaking 105) // Adapting and Customizing Your Message

teacher avatar Armando Cuervo, Public Speaker and Gentleman!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. Audience Research Variables

    • 3. How to Identify with your Audience

    • 4. Pro Tips and Real World Examples

    • 5. Conclusion

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About This Class

Public Speaking 105:

Knowing your Audience (Public Speaking 105) // Adapting and Customizing Your Message

In this course we will be covering everything you need to know about that group of people who are forced to listen to you, you know, the “AUDIENCE.” A good speech can be an excellent speech when you present it in a personalized way and the only way to personalize a message is to know “WHO” you are presenting to. All too often, a speaker’s message will be rendered ineffective because they failed to tailor their message for the crowd.

PLEASE NOTE:  If this all sounds a bit foreign to you, I recommend checking out my other Public Speaking course, PS 101: How to Outline and Write your First Speech for the basics.

Topics to be cover in this video class will be:

A. The Variables to consider when researching your audience

  1. Age Range
  2. Male/Female Ratio
  3. Current Location
  4. Knowledge / Occupations
  5. Economics
  6. Education Level
  7. Political Orientation
  8. Leisure activities

B. How to Identify with your Audience

  1. Be Yourself
  2. Be Personal

C. Pro-Tips and Real World Applications

Instructor's Note:

I will look to update this class periodically and upload future classes to cover all aspects of Public Speaking right here on Skill Share!!

Please note: All General Public Speaking Courses will be Marked with "Public Speaking 10X: (i.e. 101, 102, 103, etc)

Meet Your Teacher

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Armando Cuervo

Public Speaker and Gentleman!


Hello, I'm Armando Cuervo, 

The friendly neighborhood Toastmaster, Gentleman Gamer, Kung Fu Martial Artist, Dungeon Master and Enthusiast of Wrestling, Anime, Asian Dramas and other geeky stuff!

I started my courses here  to teach pass on my knowledge of Public Speaking, Entrepreneurship and self improvement. 

For ease of navigation and course structure, I have included a "Course Archive" Section. Hopefully, this will help you in following my lessons and getting the full learning experience without the added effort of finding all my material. In addition, I will be making updates to all my courses, since I have improved my recording and audio techniques since I have started and look to improve on the previous material presented!See full profile

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1. Course Introduction: Hello Number Montecarlo, Toastmaster Dungeon Master Gentlemen gamer, comfortable martial artist and induces of wrestling, enemy Asian dramas and other geeky stuff. And I welcome you to mine public speaking course, which is PS 105 Knowing your audience, adapting and customizing your message and this course we'll be covering everything you need to know about that group of people who are forced to listen to you. You know the audience. A good speech is an excellent speech when you presented in a personalized way, and the other way to personalized message is to know who you're presenting to. All too often, a speaker's message will be rendered ineffective because they failed to tailor the message to the crowd, which makes them appear a little bit out of touch. And I know I miss read crowds in the past where, because I have lost many a sale and many a speech contest because hi make mistakes, too, by the way that fallen will be covered in this course, which are the variables to consider when researching your audience, how to identify with your audience and we will end with pro tips on how to keep your audience attention and adapt to the situation. Let's get started 2. Audience Research Variables: uh huh, so happy you made to my introduction. I now assume that you're taking this learning stuff very seriously. By the way, if you'd like to expand your learning further, please check out my other public speaking courses. Otherwise, just feel free to continue right along. As previously mentioned, the message of a speech is occasionally misunderstood when it's presented in a fashion that is not tailored to the crowd. Your presentation should be like anything else. A personalized birthday card. It should make the audience members feel as though you're speaking to each of them one on one. Granted, this is a a little hard to do, but you can make it happen with just a little research beforehand. Now there will always be diversity among a group of people that's understood, but a typical audience should have characteristics that distinguish it from any other audience. So please consider the following variables when customizing a speech to the interests of an audience. Variable number one is a drench. Age is not just a number, by the way. It's a fact that it helps speakers understand what life events the audience members have experienced by knowing the age range he or she is able to use statements or terminology that are more meaningful for the audience. For example, for millennials like myself, saying the words cool or awesome are acceptable. Don't today's kids. They may use the words lit bay and I'm debt. But all joking aside, though, age is a good starting point to personalize your speech and develop a bond with your audience. Variable number two is male to female ratio, depending on the organization or situation an audience maybe primarily or exclusively composed of one sex. And if this is the case, select the language and examples as appropriate. For example, if you're giving a dating seminar for a men's organization, you're not going to talk about how to be a good girlfriend and said you will talk about how to be a good boyfriend, though the main point you may present an either speech are similar for either men or women . If you want to deliberate message effectively, you have Teoh gear the language to the specific needs and interests of the audience. By catering to their specific needs, they're more likely to listen to you. Variable number three is current location. This is an important variable for local crowds, and we all know what I mean by local crowds. If you're in a Rotary club in Fort Lauderdale, you can probably assume that the majority of the people there live either. In Fort Lauderdale, Warren, Brown County, you can have little details throughout your speech that reference the city in order to help make the speak more understandable or relatable. For example, when talking to a crowd about real estate investing, you should probably talk about the average house price and either Broward and Miami Dade County, as opposed to the average house price in New York City, New York It's just easier for a member of the audience to perceive the value of your message when its aid, when the examples are literally close to home. Other details. You can bring up our local heroes, the local sports team, local cuisine, key industries or major exports. You can consider any amount of location information to help in personalizing your message as long as it enhances the speech and does not come off as simple. Panda variable number four is knowledge and occupations. Many speakers can assume that when an audience is comprised of a of those sharing a specific occupation. There is typically a level of specialized knowledge or expertise that come along with it, so using professional jargon with these audiences is appropriate. For example, if you're speaking to a group of marketing specialists, terms such as market segmentation and Lost Leader are commonplace terms. Dough. If you're presenting the same topics to non specialist or normal folks, you may just want to say words such as marketing groups, discounted products or other layman's terms because they're not as confusing. Does that make concerned the use of layman's terms as condescending? Do you remember? The ultimate goal of using such terminology is to both a help you relate to the audience but most importantly, be make your message understandable. If it's not understandable, it's ineffective. And if you do attempt to use a lot of technical speaker big words in order to not be condescending, you may actually come across as arrogant because you're not understood by the audience. Their rule number five is economics. Economic levels are another defining factor for an audience, because a speech that would appeal to an affluent or well off audience would be less likely to appeal took a audience of middle class folks. For example, the topic of Wolf Man and Mint is appropriate for those who may earn more than $100,000 a year but may fall on deaf ears for those who only make about $10 an hour. So I possible alternative topic is to speak about savings or how to generate more income. Werewolf instead. Once again, the idea of this is that it's all about the perception of value and making sure that the topics that you present our personalized, specific needs and interests of the audience variable number six education level. The education level, which is sometimes called the educational background of an audience, can make a significant difference in the speaker's approach. Warding and focus. Usually, you would like to speak at a level that's just a bit higher than the level of the listener . Don't still be mindful not to use language that would exceed their level of understanding. For example, at the average education level, off the audience is at enough grade level. You may wish to speak at a level that's about 10th grade, and the reason for this is because you always wish to speak at a higher level for two reasons, the 1st 1 being that to avoid being proceed this patronizing to the crowd. The second reason is to distinguish yourself as being the lean authority in the subject matter. Another way to say this is you want to be the smartest man in the room. By the way, here's a fun fact. Did you know that most U. S. Presidents spoken attempt grade level? So if you speak out of 1/10 grade level, consider yourself presidential my way. Pro temp educational levels or educational backgrounds are not to be confused with the previously mentioned knowledge or occupations. Variable occupational knowledge incorporates a lot of jargon and is very specific, while educational backgrounds or levels for the purposes of this lecture are the total amount of formal education and general knowledge off the audience. So when talking about education levels, this would be in grades one through 12 middle school, high school, college or university masters or doctorates. But when you talk about occupational knowledge, we're talking about very specific things, such as doctors, plumbers, law enforcement, electrician's accountants, except once again, one is general, while the Owens very specific variable number seven, a local orientation and delays political environment. It seems discouraged to talk about politics in any form. Some groups pride themselves as being open minded, but others take for positions but just respectable dough, occasionally annoying. Be aware of the audiences. General attitudes are stances towards certain topics when selecting one for your speech. In some cases, you may not want to focus so much on the topic, but merely just refer, tweet briefly and then move along with speech. In my opinion, though, you can say just about anything without offending anyone, as long as you don't refer to a specific political party and you're able to support it factually. Then again, you could always just adopt my personal philosophy on everything, which is, no matter what you do, somebody will eventually be annoyed or offended. So just say it anyway. And if you're going to incorporate my steadfast philosophy into your life number one, I thank you. Number two. Please understand that this is not an ideal. That means it's okay to be a jerk. It's just my advice on when stating your opinion defendant, because you should never go along to get along because doing so will take away your credibility. Variable number eight is leisure activities. This my favorite variable to research because I am researching my audiences, hobbies and leisure activities when I have an awareness of what their hobbies are, it makes it very easy for me to customizing message for them because I am appealing to their interests. For example, when talking to a group of graphic designers illustrators, I think it's a safe bet to make a joke or reference about Disney Comics atom A or G culture in general, because odds are they're geeks and they will like that. I also would love to know if the people in the in the audience are active players of Dungeons and Dragons, because I could easily make understandable analogies to any topic and relate to my audience more effectively. They're all that being said. There's gonna be cases where my hobbies will not match the hobbies of my audience. So when it comes to situations like that, I may need to put my focus into another variable instead 3. How to Identify with your Audience: So we just spent a considerable amount of time talking about what variables to research so that you may know more about your audience. And with this data you will develop an amazing speech that will have that personal touch and will connect with the audience significantly. Of course, connecting with your audience will require more than just pandering insane buzzwords. It will require you to identify yourself with them, and the first way to identify yourself with the audience is to be yourself. And this is the most important piece of advice anybody who ever give you, which is again to be yourself being genuine cells and the audience will like you more for it. I know I tried not being myself back in the old days, especially when I tried to impress others, and I was because I wasn't being myself. I was miserable. Most people are usually good at spotting others who are being disingenuous. Despite what we may think, and despite how hard we may try to portray ourselves differently, we will always be found out. So basically, always in order to be genuine and to be happy, you should always try to first and foremost be yourself. The second way to identify yourself with your audience is to be personal. Now. Telling something personal about yourself gives an opportunity for others to relate to you . Talk about your first bicycle, your favorite movie, your favorite song or when your parents took you to your first baseball game. Basically, just bring up something that's going to appeal to the emotional, warm and fuzzies, because the whole purpose of being personal and bring up the warm fuzzies is to help humanize you to the audience. Now, examples of ways to both be yourself and personal or to include statements such as When I was younger, my parents used to take me with them when they couldn't offices at night. One of my heroes when I was growing up was Bret the Hitman Hart. One of my favorite movies is back to the future and that one day that changed my life forever. Waas when I was hit by a truck. Now the good thing about identifying yourself with the audience is that there should be very little need to practice it because it's just you being you. Some say that they hate talking about themselves, but deep down. We all love talking about ourselves, and connecting with the audience on a deeper level is good and helpful for helping us display passion in our presentations. Plus, it does bring the attention right back to you, the speaker in away from the distractions of phones and idle chatters as well all of life's other distractions. 4. Pro Tips and Real World Examples: we're making some great progress. And now it's time to talk about pro tips as well as real world applications for the lessons were learning today, and I would like to mention that as a public speaker, I do like to provide practical examples from real world experiences and not just theories from a book, because there's nothing wrong with theory. But basically you can pick up a book and repeat the theories in the book all day. But I know that you here not only to learn the theories that you confined in a book, but also to learn from my practical experiences and examples that I have personally used in order to make you a better public speaker. And I do want to provide you worthwhile advice where I care. So starting off protest number one ask the question. What does the audience want to know? Because sometimes it's just easy and best to give the audience what they want. And this isn't some sort of like pack or some sort of secret I know is mind blowing, but it's just a common sense time saver. Think about it. Just figure out what the audience wants to know and what their goals are. Figure out which approaches might have been used in the past that worked and the ones that haven't worked. Assuming that such data is available, maybe you're part of a speaker's club. Maybe you're part of a group that presents to another group all the time, and this information might be readily available. You could ask the event planner the event host, maybe the local officers. If it's a club that you're presenting to to see what the audience may already know now, you could, of course, try to find this insider information. But when all else fails, or let's say it's just not so easily present, you could always just go with the tried and true Google search. Or just check out what the Internet says, because everything seems to be on the Internet, so you might as well use it. Printed Number two is determined what is off limits Now every audience is unique, and you will be researching each audience prior to every speaks to know what the talk about . But I think it's equally important to know about what not to talk about or, more accurately, what topics or examples are off limits to the crowd that you're presenting to now off limits basically means that you don't want to touch on those topics or you don't want to do topics that relate to those examples Now. Usually there are many cultural norms that you're gonna be researching prior and or to know what your audience is comfortable with. Now. I'm not talking about topics where let's say there's that one. Somebody that we all know about that complains about every little thing we all hate the negative Nancy's in the negative, Nigel's of the world, where all they do is just complain about things and everything offends them. But we're not talking about those people. Those complainers we know about those we're talking about general topics that may have ah lot of controversy such as taxes, politics, religion, general morality, sex, drug use, alcoholism may be talking about bacon when it's obvious that no one in the audience eats bacon. And yeah, maybe I said that one last last one facetiously. But think about there's certain cultures that consider pork unclean. And you know what? Bringing home the bacon as a catchphrase does not work well with that audience because they don't know what bacon is, or maybe they do know what bacon is and just they don't eat bacon. But again, game back to the topic at hand. Here I am not saying that you should not talk about important topics, or you should censor yourself. All I'm saying is that you should know about what topics are generally off limits. Not because again, you don't want to offend anybody because that's sometimes unavoidable. I'm just saying that it's more out of respect for the audience to know what they're comfortable with, so you can relate more to them and have a more effective speech. The third pro tip is to research that cross cultural differences of your audience. Now that's gonna be many occasions where you may be presenting in front of non nationals, are in a different part of the world, and knowing the different nuances and terms and how they translate is really, really important to make sure that your message or presentation is not lost in translation . Now, a quick Internet search of cross cultural, business, communications and blank country may present enough of a search to give you the basics. Now, a few famous examples of items that don't translate well are, for instance, in Middle Eastern countries showing the soles of your feet. Is Hadley disrespectful or showing the soles of your shoes? So, in order to avoid offending anybody in those parts of the world, you may want to, for instance, with sitting down for your presentation, Do not cross your legs or potentially put your feet in the position Where that may occur now on Miller favors example, is when you're in several Asian countries were It's very, very employed two point with your forefinger. Now granted, you were was told about the point as a child. But in these cultures, it's considered really, really bad. So whenever you need to point to certain aspects or props in your presentation, you may just want to use your whole hand in order to, you know, make some signals. And then, of course, in many countries, using eight thumbs up is considered kind of an insult or thumbs down. So then you have to come up with ways to show approval or indicate that you think that something is great. So I'm pretty sure that if we stick with the tried and true smile, face emoji or heart emoji. I'm pretty sure we will do just fine. But Office sees business aside, there are several examples and many occasions where you may need to modify parts of your speech just to make sure that you at least attempting to accommodate to culture that you're presenting to. Because if you're at least not trying to accommodate, then it again you're not gonna connect with your audience as much. And if you have these try, it will be seen as a form of trying to be respectful, and you will connect better with your audience when they see at least you're attempting to connect with pro. Tip Number four is to visit the location personally. It's important to know your audience, but equally is important to know your environment when giving a speech, if at all possible, tried to visit the speaking location prior to the event and or together valuable information that you could use to adapt your speech accordingly. Now, one example, when I personally have to have Dundas was when I was invited to speak at the Toastmasters Club of Florida Atlantic University. It was a college called where it was made primarily of cold students as well as professors who acted as officers and coordinators. I gave a speech on the real cost of debt, which seemed really appropriate for the student body because they take out student loans, and I was evaluated by club members who were competing against each other for a speech evaluation contest. Now, the week prior to the presentation, I did attend one of their meetings in order to get a better feel for what I had to work with. When I gave my presentation, I took note of the available tech. In this case, they had lots of lighting as well as ways to project my speech, their walls and projectors. I also took note of the stage, the seating arrangements, the lighting, the room, acoustics, the temperature of the room as well as possible distractions, which wasn't a college campus. So I did have to deal with potential random students just walking around and going inside and going inside Electra halls. And in many cases when you give speeches, you may be a convention centers or hotels where you may have to deal with random hotel guests or other conventiongoers. Other considerations when you're doing your research is to consider the time of day as well as if you have a longer presentation. Maybe the practicality of having breaks in between the major segments of your speech. Knowing your audience and customizing message isn't just for speech ing or academics and something you see everywhere it has real world applications. Let's use beer commercials as an example. Most beer commercials are geared towards the young guy or new drinkers, and that's because older guys like myself have already developed strong opinions about the beers we drink. Do our life experiences. We have developed individual tastes and preferences, while younger folks haven't had the same amount of years to develop the same opinions yet. And also you can clearly see that in many beer commercials, they seem to emphasize a more social atmosphere or social events, which, typically younger folks are much more outgoing and would attend such events. While 30 plus year old guys like myself, we do prefer the more cozy setting of watching the game with the guys or playing dungeons and dragons at at the gaming table. Or maybe just having a drink wall eating dinner. The idea is, is that There's plenty of research that indicates everything that I'm saying. So when you look at a beer commercial, look at that as a case study of human beings. Another great example is Want to go on a website such as Amazon, eBay or YouTube in order to do research on a new camera I want to buy or in video game, I want to play suddenly. SC ads all over my social media tell me to go by that same camera in video game, along with alternatives and recommendations for similar products. And this seems like witchcraft. But it's not witchcraft. It's just a little handy thing called Target Market. And it's a beautiful thing because with a few key Web searches and clips from my mouse, I have not provided enough information for someone to develop it. Personalized message just for me, and I think that's really kind of cool. Now, Granted, you're probably tired of all these commercial examples, and I get it you don't want to be sold to, and I don't want to be sold to all the time either, So you probably wanted a different type of example that applies to hear everyday life so Let's talk about interpersonal communications now, a few really important questions. Which number one do you talk to your friends in the same way that you talk to your boss? The answer is probably No. You do not talk to your boss in the same way you talk to your friends. Now, do you talk to your significant other or your spouse in the same way that you talk to a complete stranger? I'm hoping the answer is no. Unless you legitimately tell every stranger you meet that you love him. I mean, you might make a lot of good friends that way, I'm sure, But the answer should be no. And that's because you will treat different people in different ways and talk to them or tailor your message or conversation to that person you want. This makes you a normal person. It's actually impractical and not normal to speak to everybody in the same way. Even though we're told we should treat everybody the same, it's actually technically impossible. And you should see this as a good thing, of course, because when you tailor and customize your message or conversations for the one that you're speaking to, this basically means you're actually respectful enough to acknowledge other people's differences, and because of that, you want to appeal to them and make sure that you let them know that you care. Once again, this is actually the normal behavior to half, which is again the treat, different people in different ways. 5. Conclusion: Congratulations, jaw. You just completed PS 105 Known your audience. Adapting and customizing your message, boy, that must have been notches. And if you didn't notice, I just do a bunch of Pokemon at you. Anyhoo, as I was saying, a good speech could be a great speech. When you tend the message to the audience, it's OK to present topics and opinions that the audience may not necessarily agree with, as long as you are mindful of the needs in the goals of the people in front of you. Condition researching in advance will help you feel more knowledgeable and confident because the more you know about the audience, the easier it is to both identify what that audience, as well as effectively deliver it customized message directly to them. In addition, being nervous and having fear is just a normal part of process and the best counter to overcome. These fears are to both practice and gain additional experience, though If you have little experience or you just have few opportunities to practice your speech craft, you may just want to do a little bit more research in order to make up the difference. Because a little bit more research will go a long way. As for class assignments, I have provided a worksheet for you to use to research for your next speech. And I can also be a resource for you as well. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have and also visit The resource is section. In order to get more from this course, I greatly appreciate you deciding to watch me in this great world filled with distractions and I'll see you in the next lesson.