When given the opportunity to speak, most people are so concerned with their material and delivery, that little, if any, consideration is given to their audience. After finishing your speech or presentation, take notes on your audience and how receptive they were as well as your specific topic. Keeping this information updated in a program on your computer will do much to add to your success in public speaking.
Should your delivery skills be dynamic and your material insightful, there is a very good chance that you will be invited back especially if you have several topics on your roster. While it probably will not be for another year or two, having this information at your fingertips will be to your advantage. Without it, you may find yourself in a situation similar to If This Is Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium ! Just ask any singer on tour where they were 2 days prior after having been on the road for 6 weeks.
Your audience is your reason for speaking. Your invitation to give a presentation or a speech, whether it is your first time or your 5th, is to satisfify their needs. Therefore, knowing your audience in advance is the best way their needs will be met.
Let's say, for example, that you are invited to address an audience composed of corporate businessmen in their 50's. How you speak to that audience will be quite different than were you addressing a female audience of cancer survivors. And, a mixed audience of managers for a beer company, for example, will not be the same as a mixed audience of buyers for Lord and Taylor. How you address each of these groups will vary.
Having the knowledge of whether your audience was receptive or cold can make your return that much easier. While addressing a warm audience is truly a joy, being able to bring a cold audience into the fold, so to speak, takes more work and a slightly different approach. Knowing just that little bit of information in advance can make your return engagement that much more successful.
Another benefit is that you can draw on your audience from the past when addressing the same audience a year or so later. This helps create both a familiarity and an intimate, both of which are so very important in public speaking.
One of the best public speaking tips I have learned is to keep my notepad open and to jot down particulars about the audience after leaving the auditorium, hotel or conference center. Try it – you will be glad you did.