The Challenge of Knowing your Audience

Peter B. Giblett By Peter B. Giblett, 21st Dec 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing

You have been invited to express your views about a topic. It is likely you have been chosen because you have a particular expertise and have been invited to write or speak about a particular topic because of your expertise and the fact that the audience needs to understand this viewpoint at this moment in time.

The Challenge Ahead

Whether writing or speaking about any subject one of the challenges faced is knowing the audience and getting them to respond appropriately to what you have to say.

Familiar Audiences

Let's look for a moment at a familiar audience, your family or your friends!

When speaking with family or friends then we are at our most comfortable, every one knows us and we know them intimately. We also are likely to know how they each think and what drives each and every one of them. This is an essential to any message that we wish to deliver. We will tweak it accordingly for each person that it is addressed to.

Given that we have a task that needs completing - for example putting the rubbish out for the garbage men in the morning - this may necessitate a different approach when asking your son Kevin to complete the task than when asking your daughter Janet. Kevin may need to be cajoled every time he is asked to do it, while Janet simply needs to be told its her turn. The message is bent to ensure that appropriate action is taken.

Unfamiliar Audiences

Speaking or writing for others, particularly strangers, can give us challenges in respect of knowing what your audience expects to hear from you. This is a boundary that leaves many people to consider whether it is best to stay safe or take on the challenge.

Whatever the situation whether attending a job interview or presenting an idea to the board meeting of a large corporation you are making a speech. Much is the same when posting an article to a blog or making a contribution on Facebook for the first time. Until you make the leap there are more reasons not to do it than reasons to contribute.

The important thing to remember is that each audience has their own needs and expectations. How can you meet these? In part if you remain silent then others will not know the things that you have to contribute. Here you have an opportunity to impress yet in many situations these are people you do not know.

In its original form this article was written in the context of speech-craft for my local Toastmasters club but ultimately the lessons learned can also apply to many other things in life. Write an article and the reader wants to get something from it; be educated; be excited; be motivated. Each of us is looking for one thing to inspire us for the day.

What is the Worst That Can Happen?

Well they could boo you from the stage or make a negative comment, but in all honesty most people are not that rude. One of the things that Toasmasters is proud of is having a learning organisation each club has a place where people can prepare a speech and give it to an audience. In our club we have a saying that the worst that can happen is that people clap at the end.

Publishing on Wikinut, Triond, and other article sites also has a supportive community and the truth is that other writers want you to succeed, even if they disagree with you.


English poet John Donne said "no man is an island". This philosophy is ostensibly true for both speaking and writing, after all it is all about the art of sharing our ideas and thoughts with others. With this process, therefore, we cannot live in a vacuum and speak only with ourselves we must share ideas with others in order that we can be heard.

It is all a matter of communication and this is something we start with our first words and only ends with our death. We communicate in a variety of ways, including the words we use, but also with our expressions and body-language. In writing we can use pictures to enhance the written word and to demonstrate activity. They are all tools that help communicate with others.

Do we need to convince others? Not always, sometimes the art of communication is enough.


Communication, Community, Expert, Expertise, Express Views, Expression, New Speaker, New Writer, Speaking, Speaking Skill, Writing, Writing Articles, Writing For Money, Writing Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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author avatar Jules Castillo
21st Dec 2011 (#)

yeah, i believe wikinutters are very supportive.. there is no competition...only making friends and sharing knowledge and works...i love wikinut and the wikinutters for that

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author avatar Jerry Walch
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Yes, Cowboynextdoor, we Wikinutters are very supportive of one another and so are the members of Taostmaster's International. If someone needs to make oral presentations and thaey are more afraid of speaking before a group then they are afraid of dying, then I recommend them joining a local Toastmaster's club. We have clubs all over the world . Toastmaster's not only teaches people how to give speeches without fear, they arelso a greatway to network with other professional.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Excellent work, Peter, Being able to accurately analyse ones audience is one of the principle keys to success as a writer or public speaker.

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author avatar Denise O
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Yep, I think us nuts here are very supportive of each other, we all help keep this island a float, as Peter has so aptly put.
Peter, great advice on knowing your audience. I have heard of the good service that toastmasters provides for professionals. Well done. As always, thank you for sharing.:).

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
21st Dec 2011 (#)

I try to be supportive of others, it is far more helpful to the world if we try to make others happy rather than trying to make them miserable.
Toastmasters is great for anyone who has to do any kind of public speaking including just working with the public.

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author avatar M G Singh
22nd Dec 2011 (#)

Well written. Yes support all over is important

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author avatar Buzz
22nd Dec 2011 (#)

Your message is so very well-written, Peter. Very enlightening, too. Thank you.

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author avatar Retired
23rd Dec 2011 (#)

One need to encourage and make sure that fellow writers and orators are comfortable with what they are presenting. The best way to do that is to make sure that you read and learn from others and take the feedback that is given to you to incorporate them into what you do.
That is the only way that you can get to do the top by listening to what others have to say and at the same time sieving out the sides that are not required and make something at you can call your own....
We are all not inventors but we are most certainly innovators as we develop our own styles of presentation from extensive practice.
As they say Practice Makes people perfect and the only way to know the audience is to gauge them and that comes from experience.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
24th Dec 2011 (#)

Yes practice makes perfect - yet I doubt we can ever quite be perfect.

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Dec 2011 (#)

Great article Peter, and good advice too when it comes to targeting your audience..

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
27th Dec 2011 (#)

"To know how to say what others only know how to think is what makes men poets or sages, and to dare to say what others only dare to think makes men martys or reformers - or both". (Barbara Charles - British writer).
I think, Peter, this is so appropriate to your page.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
28th Dec 2011 (#)

Well said, thank you!

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