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5.3: Conclusion, Glossary, References

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    When considering topics for your speech, it is critical for you to keep your audience in mind. Not doing so will put your speech at risk of not corresponding with the information needs of your audience, and further jeopardize your credibility as a speaker. This chapter examined methods of conducting an audience analysis and five categories of audience analysis: situational, demographic, psychological, multicultural, and interest & knowledge

    In sum, this information equips you with the foundational knowledge and skill-set required to ensure that your topic complements your audience. And, after all, if we are not adapting to meet the needs of our audience, we are not going to be informative or convincing speakers. Winston Churchill is credited with the origin of the saying: “Fail to plan, plan to fail” (Lakein, 1989). We, your authors, believe that if you have failed to fully consider the nature, make-up, and characteristics of your audience, you are—for all intents and purposes—neglecting the spirit of the public speaking exercise.

    Confidently speaking to audiences can be somewhat addictive. The experience, when properly executed, can be empowering and help you succeed personally and professionally throughout your life. But, you must first consider the audience you will be addressing and take their every requirement into account (Lewis, 1989). We are linked to, joined with, if not bound by, our audiences. Your main speaking ambition should be to seek identification with them, and for them to seek identification with you.

    Review Questions & Activities

    1. Why is it important to conduct an audience analysis prior to developing your speech?
    2. What is the purpose of performing a demographics survey?
    3. Why is audience analysis by direct observation the most simple of the three paradigms?
    4. What are some problems a speaker faces when delivering an unacquainted-audience presentation?
    5. Under what circumstances would a speaker make inferences about an audience during the course of an audience analysis?
    6. What is a variable, and how is it used in data sampling?
    7. Why are statistics considered to be a form of quantitative analysis and not qualitative analysis?
    8. How does conducting a value hierarchy help the speaker when developing a speech?
    9. What are the differences between beliefs, attitudes, and values?
    10. Which of the five categories of audience analysis is most effective, and why do you think that?


    An attitude is a learned disposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a person, an object, an idea, or an event.
    Audience Analysis
    A speaker analyzes an audience for demographics, dispositions and knowledge of the topic.
    Beliefs are statements about the validity of a phenonmenon. They are more durable than attitudes because beliefs are hinged to ideals and not issues.
    Demographics are the most recent statistical characteristics of a population.
    Demographic Characteristics
    Demographic characteristics are facts about the make-up of a population.
    Demographics are literally a classification of the characteristics of the people.
    Making an inference is the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.
    Ordered category
    An ordered category is a condition of logical or comprehensible arrangement among the separate elements of a group.
    A paradigm is a pattern that describes distinct concepts or thoughts in any scientific discipline or other epistemological context.
    Psychological Description
    A psychological description is a description of the audience’s attitudes, beliefs, and values.
    Quantitative Analysis
    A quantitative analysis is the process of determining the value of a variable by examining its numerical, measurable characteristics.
    Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data.
    Unacquainted-Audience Presentation
    An unacquainted-audience presentation is a speech when you are completely unaware of your audience’s characteristics.
    Uniqueness occurs when a topic rises to the level of being exceptional in interest and knowledge to a given audience.
    A variable is a characteristic of a unit being observed that may assume more than one of a set of values to which a numerical measure or a category from a classification can be assigned.
    A value is an enduring belief that regulates our behavior and can be seen through views that include whether something is good or bad, moral or immoral, right or wrong, and ethical or unethical.
    Value Hierarchy
    A value hierarchy is a person’s value structure placed in relationship to a given value set.


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    • Caernarven-Smith, P. (1983). Audience analysis & response (1st Ed.). Pembroke, MA: Firman Technical Publications.
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    • Klopf, D.W. & Cambra, R.E. (1991) Speaking skills for prospective teachers (2nd Ed.). Englewood, CO: Morton Publishing Company.
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    • Tucker, K.T.; Weaver, II, R.L.; Berryman-Fink, C. (1981). Research in speech communication. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

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