Writing a Speech: Understanding Your Listener

Each and every person has a voice that deserves to be heard. Sometimes that voice is held among conversing friends, other times it a person giving a speech in front of their peers. No matter the setting the voice that is speaking must be loud and clear and convey some message to the crowd that is listening. A speech can be powerful, but in order for those hearing the message to understand and maintain some stake in the issue, you have to understand your listeners.

Understanding your listener, or audience is the only way a speech will get its point across. Before taking on the task of writing your speech you must identify a few things about your audience. Such things are:

  • Is your group mostly male or female, or is it gender neutral?
  • What is the average age, or age range of those in the group. You dont want to use terms from the 70’s when addressing today's teens, or use the latest slang words on a group of senior citizens, they probably won't respond well to what you are saying, or will lose interest.
  • Are you addressing the working class, middle class, or upper class individuals or society? College students, or middle grade kids? Farmers or miners?

All these questions are ones that you need to consider before writing your speech. After you have identified the different features, or categories your group will belong to it is time for you to ask yourself how is this topic relevant to them. In order to keep your audience's attention they need to know the issue concerns them. Lets take for instance price of gas. Talking to middle grade kids about gas prices will probably not interest them if you are talking in terms of getting to work , or general driving around for leisure. First off they don't have cars so driving for leisure or going to work would not be important to them. A better way to address the issue with them is to talk in terms of their parents getting them to the important soccer game or taking them to social gatherings and comparing how running around in that sense relates to gas and money.

You have to be able to relate the topic back to your audience. You have to use terms that the group is familiar with and examples that would be relevant to the crowd you are addressing. Even the style of talk you use can be of importance.


11 2016