How To Connect With A Diverse Audience

Just because they are different does not mean that you can't connect
Just because they are different does not mean that you can’t connect Image Credit: Frerieke

Our job as a speaker is to stand in front of an audience and deliver a speech to them. What we would like to be able to do while doing this is to find a way to use the importance of public speaking in order to connect with our audience. Where this can become tricky to do is when our audience is different from us. They may come from a different location, they may speak a different language or they may be a different gender. No matter, as speakers we need to find a way to bridge the gap between us and find a way to connect with them. Just exactly how should we go about doing this?

The Challenge Of Diversity

There are a lot of different things in this world that we can control. However, just exactly who shows up in our next audience is not one of them. What this means is that there is a very good chance that your next audience is going to be made up of a diverse collection of people. This means that they will not all respond to what you are telling them in the same way. As a speaker you are going to need to take the time to think about how you want to go about connecting with each person who in your audience.

The good news for us is that this is something that can be done. Your job can be made easier if you are able to find someone who is going to know who will be in your audience. This person may be able to provide you with some background on the people that you will be talking with. What you will probably discover is that you are very different from your audience. Don’t let this cause you any concern. Understanding that there are differences between you is the first step in creating a speech that you can use to bridge the gap between yourself and your audience. Your goal is going to be to find a way that will allow you to engage your diverse audience from the start of your speech.

Learn Everything That You Can About Your Audience

So what does it really mean to learn everything that you can about your next audience? Simple, it means that you are going to want to find out what their interests are. How many man will be in your audience and how many women will be in your audience? Is it possible to find out the range of ages that you will be speaking to? Since there is a good chance that everyone in your audience may not be “from around here”, then where do they come from? As a speaker we need to be aware that customs and dialects can vary, so we need to do our research.

Master Your Audience’s Language

We need to understand that our audience may have spent time with each other. If this has happened, then they have probably developed their own way of talking. This can include common references, buzz words, and maybe even words with hidden meanings. If you are able to acquaint yourself with the way that your audience talks before your speech then you will find it easier to get your audience’s attention from the start of your speech. Since we are now living in the 21st Century, we can use the internet to research our audience’s lingo online. We can do a number of other things in order to understand how they communicate. We can read articles that pertain to the group. A great way to get more information is to ask the person in charge of the event for clarification of your presentation’s specific objectives, and inquire about recent events in the industry that the audience belongs to.

Use Social Media To Connect Before Your Speech

Speakers need to understand that social media is a powerful tool. It can be much more useful to us that just allowing us to stay in contact with the people that we went to high school with. If the audience that you will be addressing is of a professional nature, then join its LinkedIn group (everyone has one) and engage its members in discussion. Don’t stop there. There may also be groups devoted to your speech topic on Facebook. Search them out and then make comments. You can even go so far as to post a video on YouTube as a teaser to promote your speech. Don’t forget about Twitter – this is the way that some people prefer to connect these days. If you use Twitter to reach out to people before your speech then it may end up increasing your followers and your presence on Twitter.

By creating a pre-event questionnaire, taking the time to conduct an interview with the meeting planner, and doing online research and interacting through social networking, you can connect with your audience. Putting all of this effort into preparing for your next speech will allow you to make the most of this event. The result of doing this may be that you end up getting referred to other people who are looking for speakers. The results of your efforts may be greater than you can imagine!

What All Of This Means For You

Giving any speech can be a challenge for even the best speaker. However, when we know that we’re going to be facing a diverse audience, then things get just a bit tougher. We need to understand that if we don’t properly prepare for this type of speech things may not turn out well. We could have difficulty connecting with our audience. If this happens, then the message that we are trying to share may be lost. Speakers need to understand the situation that they are facing and they need to take steps in order to prepare for it in order to deliver the benefits of public speaking.

A diverse audience presents a speaker with a challenge because they may be very different from the speaker. If we want to be successful in addressing this audience, then we are going to have to go to the effort of collecting information on the audience before our speech starts. We are going to want to learn everything that we can about our audience. This means that we’ve got to get answers to our list of questions. We need to take the time to master our audience’s language. Speakers can also use social media to learn more about their audience and their likes and dislikes. Social media can also be used to connect with your audience before your speech.

The goal of any speech that we give is to provide us with an opportunity to connect with our audience and get our message across to them. When we find ourselves facing a diverse audience we know that we have a real challenge on our hands. However, the good news is that we can overcome this kind of challenge. If we are willing to put some time and effort into properly preparing for this type of speech, then we can be successful. Use the tips that we have discussed here and make your next speech to a diverse audience a success.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What questions do you think that you should ask the event organizer in order to better understand your audience?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The world in which we live is getting smaller and smaller each day. What this means for speakers is that we may get called on to give a speech to an international audience at any time. If this happens to you, then you are going to have to realize that not everyone in your audience is going to be able to speak or understand the language that you give your speech in. However, because of the importance of public speaking they may still be interested in what you have to say. What this means is that an interpreter may be called in to translate what you say, as you say it, into another language. If you find yourself in this situation, then you are going to have to know how to work with an interpreter.