Conclusion, Review Questions, and Activities

When considering topics for your speech, it is critical for you to keep your audience in mind. Not doing so will put your speech at risk of not corresponding with the information needs of your audience, and further jeopardize your credibility as a speaker. This chapter examined methods of conducting an audience analysis and five categories of audience analysis. In sum, this information equips you with the foundational knowledge and skill-set required to ensure that your topic complements your audience. And, after all, if we are not adapting to meet the needs of our audience, we are not going to be informative or convincing speakers.

Winston Churchill is credited with the origin of the saying: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”[1] We, your authors, believe that if you have failed to fully consider the nature, make-up, and characteristics of your audience, you are—for all intents and purposes—neglecting the spirit of the public speaking exercise. Confidently speaking to audiences can be somewhat addictive. The experience, when properly executed, can be empowering and help you succeed personally and professionally throughout your life. But, you must first consider the audience you will be addressing and take their every requirement into account.[2] We are linked to, joined with, if not bound by, our audiences. Your main speaking ambition should be to seek identification with them, and for them to seek identification with you.

Review Questions

  1. Why is it important to conduct an audience analysis prior to developing your speech?
  2. What is the purpose of performing a demographics survey?
  3. Why is audience analysis by direct observation the most simple of the three paradigms?
  4. What are some the problems a speaker faces when delivering an unacquainted-audience presentation?
  5. Under what circumstances would a speaker make inferences about an audience during the course of an audience analysis??
  6. What is a variable, and how is it used in data sampling?
  7. Why are statistics considered to be a form of quantitative analysis and not qualitative analysis?
  8. How does conducting a value hierarchy help the speaker when developing a speech?
  9. What value does performing a Likert-type testing of attitudes give the speaker?
  10. Which of the Five Categories of Audience Analysis is the most effective, and why do you think that?
  11. What are the differences between beliefs, attitudes, and values?
  12. What challenges does a speaker face when delivering a speech to a multicultural audience?


  1. If you know who your audience will be prior to speaking, try performing a demographic analysis. You may want to find out data, such as age, group affiliation, sex, socio-economic status, marital status, etc. Once you’ve done that, see if any of that information can impact any aspects of your speech. If it does, then determine how and why it impacts your speech.
  2. Another survey to conduct is an attitudinal survey. If you are delivering a persuasive speech, you’ll want to know what your audience thinks about your topic. Audience members who have opinions about things generally have a self-interest in it; that is why they are interested in what you have to say. Perform a Likert-type survey analysis to help you determine how best to create your speech.
  3. As you know, a person’s values are the most difficult for any speaker to change. You can perform a values survey to determine how difficult it will be to change the minds of your audience. Every persuasive speech addresses some value or values. Take a position, such as “consuming horse meat as an alternative to beef,” and ask potential audience members how they feel about eating horse meat—why and why not. By conducting a hypothetical survey you begin to understand how to create an effective survey and why it is so important to the speaker to conduct.

  1. Lakein, A. (1989) How to get control of your time and your life. New York: Signet.
  2. Lewis, D. (1989) The secret language of success. New York: Galahad Books.