Connect With Audience Expectations – Persuasive Speaking

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What are the reasons why today’;s audiences are frustrated with most public speakers? The key reason is …

Most speakers are stuck in the past. Many presenters organize their message reflecting how speakers communicated in the past (mostly to inform). In my opinion, they should instead look to needs and wants of today’;s audience. Should not a presentation be about audience expectations? Why do most speakers ignore this? Classic marketing says your message should be about the "customer" – but why can not more speakers see that?

Most speakers (especially pastors) have not accounted for the Internet age with its instant gratification. In fact, they often ignore how to reach people where they are today.

What needs to change?

Understand that people gather to listen for a variety of reasons. Broadly speaking, what are the current needs and wants of your listeners? In the past, speaking was mostly to inform, but today’;s audience has a complex set of expectations. Depending on the age group, they want to be:

  • Entertained
  • Educated
  • Provoked or aroused
  • Persuaded
  • Informed
  • Moved to action

Most speakers disregard how the assemblage wants to hear the message. In fact, many listeners’; expectations are never engaged.

For example, a 25 year old, is generally interested learning new things – is most intent on being educated. A 45 year old with more life experiences, prefers to be informed and moved to action. A 65 year old, in the latter stage of life is more interested in being entertained and provoked.

The question becomes how do you determine what the core NEEDS to be met when you have a variety of age groups present at your next talk?

If your audience is unfamiliar to you, research them before you speak. Communicate to key people attending your next talk or send out a survey to understand the needs / wants of the upcoming audience. If you do proper advanced research, you will better understand the listener’;s key expectations. Then you can provide a material that is relevant to the audience’;s circumstances. If you’;re a pastor, have your congregation fill out a simple questionnaire. See what they REALLY want out of your sermon.

Remember the message is about them (your audience) and not about you. Create something special keeping in mind the group’;s expectations. Regardless of age, if you talk about the group’;s core need (s) everyone wins!

Bottom Line: Create a Message That is Relevant to Your Audience