The Importance of Understanding Your Audience

Understanding isn’t a destination – it’s a journey.

Regardless of how large or little the audience is, there are various things you must do if you want to ensure that your presentation is successful.  Understanding every aspect of your audience is one of the most critical aspects.

To connect with your audience, you must first understand why they are in your audience and why the topic is relevant for them.  Knowing what actions you want them to take, or what things you want them to take away from your presentation will provide a new perspective for you as a speaker.  You can’t just assume they have the same interests as you.

Determining as much about them as possible like culture, geography, history, beliefs and views will make it simpler to communicate with them and avoid taking miss steps.  Also uncovering how much they already know, or think they know about your topic can give you the insight that keeps them interested and engaged.

In simple terms bicycles can’t be sold to dogs…

If the goal is to compel your audience to act, sell them a product/service/experience, or provide a novel idea to someone, you must know what motivates them.  The more you know the better.

What do you like to do in their spare time?  What kind of proof will you require to make a decision? What is your level of decision-making authority?  Is your pitch being delivered to the correct person?

Understanding your audience can help you structure your message and customise what you say to the level of comprehension and background of your listeners.  Knowing and comprehending your target audience has two advantages:

  1. It keeps you from saying something inappropriate, like upsetting someone with a joke; and
  1. it helps you communicate with your audience in a language they understand about things that they care about.  Your speech will be more successful if you can create a message that both informs and engages your audience.

You must have a complete understanding of your audience because you won’t be able to customise your message or turn a lead into a paying customer if you don’t do so.

You won’t be able to persuade your readers to accept your suggestions or advice seriously.  Whether you’re writing an internal company message or a PowerPoint presentation for a major conference, knowing your audience is critical to your success.

Scroll to Top