Knowing Your Audience


Club project Project requiring research

Learning Objectives
  • Learn about the importance of researching the audience before the speech and quickly establishing rapport with them.
  • Learn to tailor a speech to a specific audience, venue and context.
  • Learn to observe the body language of the audience and establish a "dialogue", adapting to the subtle changes in the audience instead of just delivering a canned speech
  • Having completed the previous projects of the Basic Educational Path
May be used
Must not be used
Presentation Software
Presentation Software:
Must not be used
Lectern / Podium:
Must not be used
Main Speech
Light Green 5 min
Light Yellow 6 min
Light Red 7 min

Project Outline

Your goal  in this project is to get used to  researching the audience, preparing and delivering a speech tailored to it, and reading and reacting to the audience's change of mood during the delivery.

Select a subject for your speech and develop a model or "template" speech that will be used as the base for the real speech. The template speech should meet all the objectives of the previous projects.

Well before the meeting, start gathering information about your audience and their stance on the issue you'll be presenting. Ways to get this information include:

  • Their publications on social media
  • Direct observation in previous meetings or other events.
  • Small talk at other meetings. This should be inconspicuous and subtle and not "in-your-face". Small talk can even happen at the meeting itself where you'll be presenting your speech.
  • Email conversations
  • Asking common friends or acquaintances.

Information you should be gathering:

  • Cultural background
  • Their stance on the subject of your speech.
  • How knowledgeable are about the subject you're going to talk.
  • Their social status in the group and the power relationships between the members of the audience.
  • Their previous attitude towards you in general, in particular whether they respect you as an authoritative source on the material you're presenting. If not, this should be the very first thing you need to address.
  • Any items of similarity between you and the audience that can help establish rapport.


Also, before the speech, you need to visit the venue and know

  • The seating distribution
  • The available area for speaking
  • The acoustics of the room and the amount of noise
  • The technical infrastructure available (sound, projection,
  • The time of the day of the speech and its implications
  • The ambient factors of the room (temperature, humidity, ventilation, etc.)
  • Whether during your speech there will be other activities nearby that might affect it

Once you have that information, you should alter your speech in order to:

  • Adapt it to the specific concerns of the audience and the context
  • Establish rapport with the audience (using the similarities you found in your research).
  • Insert at least one or two positive references to the "authority" figures in the audience, in order to relate to them and tie them to the point you're trying to make.

During the speech, watch for subtle clues in the body language of the audience that might indicate

  • Boredom
  • Disapproval
  • Hostility
  • Lack of interest
  • Doubt
  • Impatience
  • Disappointment
  • Frustration
  • Bewilderment
  • Excitement

You need to quickly react to any negative feelings that develop, while at the same time encouraging the positive ones.

The speaker should not use notes.

If there's a lectern or podium, the speaker cannot stand behind it.

Project Description

(In Progress)

Evaluation Card

Tips and Hints


External Resources

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Note: Please always check with the official Agora Speakers International Wiki for the latest versions of the educational projects.

Contributors to this page: agora .
Page last modified on Tuesday February 18, 2020 11:18:32 CET by agora.