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How to Communicate Effectively to an Audience

When you speak to a crowd, communicating effectively means that your delivery is positive and confident so that your message comes across effectively. Use the tips in the following list to convey your points:

      -Speak up so others can easily hear you, especially in group situations.


      -Make your message as concise as possible; wordiness is not needed or wanted.


      -Use language in the best way possible to make your points.


      -Talk with your hands and use them to emphasize your key points.


      -Be direct and honest with people as a consistent practice.


      -Provide steady eye contact with your listeners to engage their attention when you talk.


      -Maintain an alert body posture when you speak to put life behind your message.


      -Pause to gather your thoughts so you avoid extraneous sounds, such as “um” that clutter your message.


      -Focus on getting solutions when you talk about problems.


    -Be sincere: People respond best to those who are genuine and respectful in their delivery.

Know Your Audience

The starting point for all communication is becoming aware of the intended audience and approaching them on an appropriate level. So many times, people get themselves into difficult situations because they did not consider the audience’s reaction to the message. Anyone could make a list of controversies that started as the result of an insensitive remark or one that was not well thought out. In addition to considering what the message says, as a writer (and speaker) you need to consider how the ideas are expressed.

To ensure successful written communication, first think about the people who will read it. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will gain insight into what they want to know and how they want to be addressed. The Temple of Apollo at Delphi in Greece has an inscription that cautions each person to “know yourself.” Improving communications encourages people to know thy audience.

Salespeople are no strangers to the concept of “put yourself in the buyer’s position.” It means that the seller (in this case, you as writer) will consider what features and benefits to present to the person on the receiving end. Word choice and message length (think: brevity) will show your recipient how much thought and care you put into crafting your message.

Audiences are composed of people, all of whom have different perceptions. These questions will yield a variety of answers, simply because perceptions differ:

      -What is a lot of money?


      -What is tall?


    -What is hot?

To avoid having messages misperceived, misconstrued or misunderstood, choose language that will be understood by most (preferably all) of your recipients. Think of the individuals who comprise your audience before you communicate with them. Ask yourself:

      -Who is the audience?


      -Why am I writing/presenting? What do I want my audience to know or do?


      -What do they already know? What is their level of understanding?


      -What is their likely attitude about the topic?


      -What does my audience want to achieve?


      -What medium will support the message the best — e-mail, letter, memo, report, proposal, etc.?


    -What format or layout will appeal to the audience and support the message?

Then, as the final step before beginning to write, organize your ideas. It’s a true sign of respect for your audience. Show that you are concerned for their time and attention. Plan to present the information that will make the most sense to them. Your organizational pattern may take any form (chronological, inside to outside, top to bottom, etc.). However you deliver the information, just make sure that someone new to your subject area will “get it” without having to strain the brain to do so. With all this in place, you’re ready to put fingers to keyboard, or (how dated to say…) pen to paper. Approach the task with a positive attitude, a clear purpose and straightforward organization, and you’ll be on the path to achieving your goal.

Influencing Your Audience: Making Your Persuasive Message Stick

Capturing interest at the start of a message is important, but in persuasive writing, you also need to sustain the audience’s attention throughout the message. That’s how you influence people’s thinking and motivate them to accept your ideas. Here are a couple of ideas:

Tailor your appeal to something the audience wants, needs or values.

      For a manager, that means you must know what motivates your employees. There are various wants, needs, and values that move people: a bonus, a promotion, time off, self-esteem, a challenge, an appeal to their leadership potential. Others value inclusion: They appreciate the opportunity to be part of a group.


      In a different situation, maybe you are trying to persuade people to support or oppose a developer’s project in your community. If you are persuading people to approve it, you might focus on jobs, tax revenue, or shopping convenience. If you want to persuade people to oppose the project, perhaps on environmental grounds, consider what is important to the audience. Will the public lose access to open space? Will wetlands be sacrificed? Will pollution be an issue?

Present your persuasive appeal in a context familiar to the audience. News stories about a foreign country often will refer to the country as being “about the size of Iowa” or some other state. Such a comparison gives people context, which is important in making a message persuasive, because you need to present your argument within the realm of the audience’s experience. You need to make it real for people.
If you are appealing for a contribution to help the poor, and the audience doesn’t know what it means to be in poverty, compare what the audience takes for granted every day to what poor people never have. That helps the audience to “see,” and your appeal is more likely to move them.

Who is your Audience

Your audience represents one very important third in the basic model of communication.


  • “Who is my audience?” is the first question you should ask yourself before you begin crafting your speech.
  • Your audience may share commonalities and characteristics known as demographics. You should never stereotype or generalize your audience by their demographics, but you can use them to inform the language, context, and delivery of your speech.
  • Audience demographics to consider include age, culture, race, gender, education, occupation, values, and morals.

Re: Audience analysis Process

Understanding one’s audience is one of the most important elements of effective communication. Audience analysis can help you gain valuable insight about your readers, which can help you to choose and develop a relevant, meaningful topic. It can also help you to create a writing plan that is tailored effectively to your reading audience, with appropriate tone, style, language and content.

There are three main areas to consider when analyzing your audience: demographics, dispositions and knowledge of the topic. For each of these areas, there are a set of questions to answer which will help stimulate your thinking about your audience. In addition to the questions below, you should consider how each of these factors (age, socio-economic status, etc.) affect your readers’ attitudes, expectations and opinions about you and your topic.

Demographic Analysis

      -Is my reading audience homogeneous or heterogeneous? If homogeneous, how are the readers alike? What do they have in common? If heterogeneous, how are the readers different from one another? What do readers have in common despite their differences?


      -What is the average age of my readers? What range of ages is represented?


      -In terms of socio-economic status, how would I describe my reading audience? Where do they fit in society’s social and economic status?


      -What occupations are represented in my reading audience?


      -What are my readers’ political and religious affiliations?


      -What ethic, racial and cultural groups are represented in my reading audience?


    -What is my role in relationship to my reading audience? Are we status equals or re we of mixed status?

Disposition Analysis

      -What might my reading audience expect from this document?


      -What might I expect about my readers’ attitudes toward me (the writer) and my topic?


      -What concerns or problems do my readers have?


      -What interests and goals do my readers have?


      -What will motivate my readers? What types of needs do they have?


    -What biases or preconceived ideas might my readers have about me and my topic?

Knowledge Analysis

      -How much does my reading audience already know about my topic? What, specifically, do my readers already know about the topic?


      -What can I inform my readers about that they do not already know? What new information would my readers benefit from? How could they use this new information?


      -At what point of sophistication will I be “talking over the heads” of my readers because my information is too complex? At what point of sophistication will I be “insulting the intelligence” of my readers because my information is too simplistic?


    -What questions might my readers have about my topic?

Conduct an Audience Analysis

An audience analysis is a task that instructional designers and training developers perform in the initial phases of planning a training project. Completing an audience analysis is critical because in order to communicate information effectively, you need to understand who your learners are. Depending on the project, you might have more than once audience.

To complete your audience analysis, you will need to interview and observe the employees and management to gather information about your learners. Once you have identified your specific audiences, you can tailor your courses so they are pertinent to the different background, education levels, etc.

Here’s an example of how audiences can vary widely, even within one organization: you are developing software training for a large organization with a manufacturing facility. Some of your learners are engineers who work in software development. They are technically savvy, work at a computer all day and are already familiar with the software you are training them on. Meanwhile, your second audience is the workers from manufacturing facility. They work with machinery all day and barely use the computer. This will be their first time ever seeing this software. You can already see that, even though these two audiences may need to be trained on the same software, very different approaches will be required for different audiences.

Here’s a list of 20 audience analysis questions to get you started.


Who is your primary audience?
Are there potential secondary audiences?


What is the average age of the learner?
Are the learners mostly men, women or an equal mix?
What is the educational background (high school diploma, PhD)?
What is their cultural background, race, ethnicity?

Knowledge & Experience

What is their level of work experience?
What is the reading level of the audience?
How much do they already know about the subject at hand?
What tone or attitude is appropriate for your audience?
Are the learners highly motivated?


What hardware and software will the learners have?
How technically savvy are the learners?
What resources do the learners have at their disposal?


What level of participation can you expect?
What kind of syntax or writing style are your learners comfortable with?
Why are the learners taking the training?
What will the audience expect to learn?
What amount of time do learners have available to devote to training?
Do any of the learners have special needs? (visual or audio impairment)

What Is a Target Audience?

  • A Target Audience is the specific section of consumers with potential interest in the product at which advertisements are aimed. The demographics of age, sex, occupation, or income are unique to each target audience.
  • Target audience refers to a specific group of people within the target market to whom the marketing message is aimed at. These people can be of a certain age group, gender or even marital status.
  • A target audience is a specific group of people within set region, at which a certain message is aimed at. This group of people normally have specific aims and interest which they set to achieve.