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July 2007 - Help the Audience Understand

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

July 2007

Help the Audience Understand

Last month I discussed six questions to ask about your audience and in other columns I’ve stressed the importance of adapting to them.  The communicator should always make things easy for the audience to understand.  Here are some specific suggestions.

  1. State your objective with the audience in mind.  As I suggested in the May 2004 Column, start your objective with this phrase:  The objective of this speech is for each listener to ...“(TOOTSIFELT). Then finish the sentence with what you want them to think, feel or do.
  2. Choose main points that help you reach your objective.  In other words, if you make these points, then you will have reached your objective.
  3. Use material that both supports your main points and is easily understood by the audience. For example, if I were speaking to a group of senior citizens I might use an example from the 1960’s—one that would be understood easily by people who had lived through that period, but I might not use an example about Bluetooth technology.  On the other hand when talking to a college class at Troy University I would use the example about Bluetooth technology, but would not be as likely to use the example from the 1960’s.
  4. Use terms your audience understands.  Put another way; don’t use words and phrases unfamiliar to your audience.  And don’t use one dollar words when twenty-five cent ones will do, even with highly literate audiences.
  5. Remove all extraneous, irrelevant or “nice-to know” but unnecessary information from your presentation.  Such information often only confuses listeners and readers.

These five things should help you as you get ready to communicate to your audience.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

April 2007 - How to Win
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