Creating A Good Speech Is All About Knowing Your Audience

There are many different things to take into consideration when planning a speech. Here are a few of them:

Time constraints

Obviously, one of the most important aspects of planning your speech is ensuring that it meets minimum time requirements and doesn’t exceed maximum time constraints.

Topic depth

The depth of your topic is very important, in part because proper detail and breadth will allow you to meet the time requirements without including unnecessary information or skipping over information your audience requires.

Knowing your audience

The most important aspect of creating a good speech is knowing your audience. What you know about your audience will shape every aspect of your speech, from the approach you take to the topic, to how in depth your exploration of it is. Things you should consider about the audience include:

  1. Attention span.
  2. Aside from any time requirements imposed upon you by logistical or academic considerations, you also need to think about the attention span of your audience. Consider what length of speech is appropriate for the audience that will be listening, and how you will capture and hold their attention during the speech.

  3. Background knowledge.
  4. Knowing the background knowledge your audience is likely to have about your topic is critical. If you don’t know, find out. If your audience is very well informed about the topic in general, you’ll need to go into greater depth in order to keep their attention. If they are not, you’ll need to provide background knowledge and build a foundation for understanding the point of your speech.

  5. Mood and tone.
  6. Depending on the circumstances of your speech, your audience will be more and less receptive to certain moods and tones. If it’s a celebratory event, don’t give a dolorous speech. If it’s a somber event, you will want to keep humor to a minimum. If your audience is young and expecting to laugh, you can include more comedy. Consider whether or not your speech should have a more intellectual tone or a conversational one, for example. Consider the type of sense of humor your audience is likely to have—a somewhat lowbrow joke may amuse some audiences but offend others.

One thing you can do when writing your speech is to build some hypothetical profiles of audience members—include age, occupation, general background about the subject—and consider how your hypothetical audience will react to your speech.

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