Audiences are collections of individuals, each with a unique point of view.


Audience-centered public speaking requires you to find out as much as you can about the audience as individuals


Analyzing your audience is the process of examining information about the listeners you expect to hear your speech/


Audience adaptation is the process of ethically using information you has gathered to achieve your speaking objectives.


Ten key questions assist the audience–centered approach to public speaking.


1.    To who am I speaking?

2.    What does my audience expect from me?

3.    What topic would be most suitable for my audience?

4.    What is my objective?

5.    What kind of information should I share with my audience?

6.    How should I present the information to them?

7.    What kinds of examples would work best?

8.    What language differences do I have with my audience?

9.    What method of organizing information will be most effective?





It’s more than just observing the audience. We also make a self-assessment of how we relate to our listeners.


·        Age

·        Gender


Sexual orientation:


·        Whether you approve or disapprove of a person’s sexual orientation, your attitudes and beliefs presented in a speech should not interfere with being audience-centered.


·        Monitor language choices and use appropriate humour and illustrations.


·        Effective communicators put aside their personal views of sexual orientation.


Culture, ethnicity and race:


·        Speakers must avoid “Ethnocentrism”, the belief that one culture is somehow superior to another.


·        Audiences will resent implications that the speaker’s cultural traditions are better than those of the audience.

·        Researchers present cultural differences in four major ways, which can provide clues for speaker adaptation to diverse audiences.


1.    Individualistic and collective cultures: Some cultures place emphasis on individual achievement such as Great Britain, United States, Canada, Belgium and Denmark. Other cultures value group or collective achievement such as Japan, Taiwan and Venezuela.


2.    High-context and low-context cultures: High context cultures place high importance on contextual factors such as tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and movement such as the Arab countries, Japan, and Southern Europe. Low –context cultures place high values on words and expect detailed and explicit information from a speaker such as Switzerland, United States and Australia.


3.    Tolerance of Uncertainty and Need for Certainty. Great Britain and Indonesia have considerable tolerance for uncertainty, while Russia, Japan, Costa Rica are more comfortable with vagueness.


4.    High-power and low-power cultures: Refers to the ability to control or influence others. Some cultures prefer clearly defined lines of authority and responsibility such as the Philippines, Mexico and France. Other cultures are more comfortable with blurred lines of authority and titles, such as Austria, Norway and Israel.


Religion: Use great care in discussing any religious beliefs with an audience.


Group membership: Lion’s Club, Kiwanis etc. will influence speaker choices.


Socio-economic status: Be mindful on factors such as income, occupation and education level.


Psychological Audience Analysis (Psychographics):


Situational analysis: Situational analysis considers not only people, but also the time, place and occasion of the speech.


Respond to nonverbal cues:







Beebe, Steven., and Beebe, Susan. (2003). Public Speaking. “An Audience-Centered Approach. Fifth Edition. Pearson Education Inc. Boston, Mass.


Villagran, Morris; Wise, Charles and Ivy, Diana. (2003). Public Speaking. “An Audience Centered Approach”. Instructor’s Resource Manual for Beebe and Beebe. Pearson Education Inc. Boston, Mass.


Zeuschner, Raymond. (1997). Communicating Today. Allyn and Bacon. Needham Heights, Massachusetts.