The key to good relationships is effective communication. Two basic principles for effective communication are to always know exactly what you are trying to accomplish whenever you make any communication, and to keep in mind your audience and communicate to them in an appropriate manner in order to accomplish your purpose. Making effective presentations is a critical skill required by employers. An audience analysis is essential in determining how to build a presentation. This paper discusses the various aspects of an audience analysis. It covers the communication channels to be used, the need to keep the diversity of the audience in mind, and ways of making the message effective.
Audience Analysis Paper
Relationships are vital in all aspects of human affairs and the key to good relationships is effective communication. The purpose of a communication can be to give orders or instructions, share information, sell an idea or a product, obtain information or feedback, to take a decision, or to express feelings or emotions. Two basic principles for effective communication are to always know exactly what you are trying to accomplish whenever you make any communication, and to keep in mind your audience and communicate to them in an appropriate manner in order to accomplish your purpose.
Making effective presentations is a critical skill required by a manager. It is good to remember that the crux of good presenting is preparation, practice, and performance. An important consideration of an effective presentation is the audience profile. An audience analysis is essential in determining how to build a presentation. The more one knows about the audience, the better can one target the remarks to reflect their specific interests and concerns (The Total Communicator, 2003). This paper addresses a situation where a person has to make a presentation of the quarterly sales information to the stakeholders, and discusses the various aspects of an audience analysis.
Characteristics of an Audience
As all communication must be planned keeping the interest of the receiver in mind, it is necessary to be aware of the audience profile. In this case, the quarterly sales information has to be presented to all the stakeholders that will include the managers, salespersons, and the customers. According to The Total Communicator (2003), the audience factors that should be considered are; size of the audience, their attitudes and biases, their motivations, their interests, and their knowledge of the subject.
The size of the audience will possibly be about 15-20. The venue has therefore to be accordingly prepared with the appropriate seating and the audio visual equipment. The attitudes and the motives of the audience members will naturally depend on their own interests, which are bound to be different for the categories of people present. As the sales information to be presented will be heavily number-based, this should be done through readable and effective slides. Alternatively, some of it can be put in handouts to be given to them at the appropriate time. The other factor that is pertinent is as to how the listeners will react depending on their experience, education, job or professional background, age, gender, ethnic background, and cultural differences, if any (The Total Communicator, 2003)
In any communication process, one of the steps is the means of transmitting the information. The means available are verbal or written, and the message can be transmitted through different channels like on a telephone, in a written note or through a fax, or computer. In this case, the information is to be given out at an in-person meeting. Thus the channel is to be oral through speaking, or in written form through background papers or handouts, or both. This requires a presentation backed by computerized audio visual slides. Possibly, a video can be shown if a novel idea or a technique is involved. Handouts can also be prepared to be given to the audience before, during, or after the presentation, as appropriate.
A Diverse Audience
According to Locker & Kienzler (2008), our values, priorities, and practices are shaped by the culture in which we grow up. A successful intercultural communicator is aware of the values, beliefs, and practices in other cultures, is sensitive to differences among individuals within a culture, and is aware that his or her preferred values and behaviors are influenced by culture. In any organization, there are people whose backgrounds and working styles differ from each other.
Residents of small towns and rural areas have different notions of friendliness than do people from big cities. Marketing people tend to have different values and attitudes than researchers or engineers. In addition, differences arise from gender, class, race and ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, and physical ability. These differences affect how people behave in groups and what they expect from groups (Locker & Kienzler, (2008.) Thus, the presenter here will have to keep in mind the diversity of the likely audience by way of gender and culture.
Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Message
Any communication is subject to perceptual and other barriers, miscommunication, or disturbances. To ensure the effectiveness of the message, a sender must take these factors into account. Besides doing the audience analysis, Kotelnikov (2010) lists some other considerations for making a presentation effective; these are planning the format, delivery, and ensuring audience attention. A powerful first impression is important. This can be done in a variety of ways, e.g., by getting attention with a quote or a positive statement. The presentation should be done with a passion so that the listeners sense how strongly the presenter believes in what he is saying.
Keeping the Audiences Attention
effective presentation consists of an introduction, a catchy opening, an outline of agenda, the main content, and a good closing. The time of the day is also important and so is the day of the week. Human beings have a very short attention span. To keep his audience with him, the presenter must use various techniques and devices to keep the listeners mind occupied for all that time. Some of the ways of doing this are:
??? Maintaining full eye contact with all the members in the audience in such a way that each member feels that he is talking to him alone.
??? Moving around and not sticking to the dais or to one place
??? Using attractive and easily readable visual-aids.
??? Getting the audience involved through interaction with them, asking them questions or seeking a response.
??? Keeping the overall time in check as the attention span starts to wander after 30 minutes.
??? Switching off the projector in-between when discussing something.
??? Erasing the board or flip chart when finished with it.
??? Using a blank screen when explaining a point.
??? Using the names of audience members to maintain a rapport.
Managing the Group
Any group has different types of members with varying motivations and skills. They all need different handling. A positive person is a great help while a talkative one has to be tactfully controlled. Argumentative members have to be kept clear of. An intellectually superior member has to be handled with a ???Yes??¦but??™. A difficult person is to be simply avoided.
Communication amongst human beings is an art and a desired skill of leaders. Poor communication is the root cause of all conflicts and poor performance. Any communication has to be planned keeping in mind the likely recipients of that communication. An audience analysis is therefore one essential element for ensuring the effectiveness of any message.
The Total Communicator (2003). You talkin??™ to me Know your audience??¦ and what it takes to persuade, inspire and motivate them. Retrieved from http://totalcommunicator.com/vol1_4/audience_article.html
Locker , K., & Kienzler , D. (Eds.). (2007). Business and Administrative Communication (8th ed.). NY, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Kotelnikov, V. (2010). How To Make Effective Presentations and What Makes an Audience Listen. Retrieved from http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/presentations_main.html