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.
- State your objective with the audience in mind. As I suggested in the May 2004
Column, start your objective with this phrase: The objective
this speech is for each listener to
...“(TOOTSIFELT). Then finish the sentence with what you want them to think,
feel or do.
- Choose main points that help you reach your objective. In other words, if you
make these points, then you will have reached your objective.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
April 2007 - How to Win