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Chapter 3: Understanding Audiences and Public

Terms in this set (10)

Effective public speaking requires you to connect with your audience.

Connecting with yor audience requires you to develop skills in analyzing your audience and on the basis of analysis,adapting your speech to it and engaging its members.

Analyzing your audience means thinking about the makeup and motivations of your audience so you will habe a sense of the best way to make your case to them

Adapting to your audience means writing,framing,and deluevering your speech in a manner that will maxamize the chances of the members will hear you and also may change their opinions,beliefs, actions in response to your speech.

Analyzing and adapting to your audience are fundamental skills for responsive communication.

Communication is always directed at one or more ppl

Goal of expressive communication: Letting them know what is on your mind

Goal of responsive communication: engage the other persons and ellict a response so it must take into account their opinions,motivations,beliefs,and character. In experienced speakers often focus on themselves.

Make your opinion kknown but also influence how your audience thinks about the topic-whether your goal is to inform audience members,to persuade them to take action,or to honor someone on special occasion. Achieving your goal requires making choices to tailor your speech carefully to the audience

A public speech should turn into a larger conversation

As a communicator,you should think about your audience as a partner in an ongoing public conversation. `

You will have to develop an understanding of the audience so you can foster a relationship and stregthen the quality of public conversation in your community and beyond.
Speakers can make better speech choices by focusing on the audienence they want to create rather than just the demographic characterisitics of the bodies sitting in the room.

What makes your speech effective is your skill in designing the persuasion that provides you with an audience suitable for persuasion,or rhetorical audience.

You can create a rhetorical audience by addressing them in a certain way, you can create a paticular relationship, a particular us.

How do you figure out what audience to create?

Start with demographics and ask yourself about your likely roles that cut across categories that include the whole group. Or you can start with a topic and try and imagine the different possible audiences.

" As Test": a tool for choosing a rhetorical audience as people in a specific role in order to change their perspective on your topic

A rhetorical conception of your audience allows you to pick a role or perspective that not only helps them relate to your topic but also invites them to forge commonalities despite demographic differences.

Inviting an audience to take up a specific role also can influence your choices about words and verbal style.

A limitation to the idea of the rhetorical audience is that you can't magically make the audience into anything that you want it to be.

From Me to Us
As you think about the audience you will choose to address, you are directing your attention, to an extent, away from yourself.

Think of words like "we all instead of you should"

"You should" creates distances between themselves with their audience. It makes it seem like they are talking down to them.
"We all" allow you to be more effective if you are speaking as a member of that community.
You need an idea of audiences interest in order to divide them

Communicators clarify the difference between facts and interests

Interests are always relevant with informative and persuasive public speaking.

If you want to convey information, you also have to show why the information is relevant or interesting to the audience.

If you want to persuade people to take action, you have to show that the action is consistent with their interests, or follows directly from them.

Sympathetic audiences: Here, rhetorical audiences already see their interests aligned with yours. You can just ask to and amplify the agreement, adding information and substance. On most college campuses, a speech about " We need more and cheaper parking" will find a friendly response.

Apathetic audiences: Apathetic audiences do not care about the topic, because they do not know they should care about it. This is a great opportunity for a speaker to show audience members that their interests are aligned with knowing about this information. The speaker identifies a rhetorical audience, its interests, and then shows how the information is relevant.

Hostile audiences: Sometimes rhetorical audiences are fairly sure they do know what their interest are, and they are the opposite of what you want to propose. The challenge here, while respecting their understanding of their own interests should take precedence or that there is or that there is another interpretation of the interest.

Occasional audiences: These are audiences that have gathered for a specific purpose.
The conceptions of the literal audience and the rhetorical audiences imply different approaches to interacting with an audience

Marketing is about convincing audiences to change their behavior, based on their existing beliefs and motivations and engagement is about changing the beliefs and motivations of the audience. Our purpose in drawing this contrast is to show that even though marketing is an entirely
legitimate actively; it operates from assumptions that are different from public speaking, and those assumptions become clearer in the contrast.


One-way process: When you are selling a product or a service, your goal is not a dialogue with your potential customer. You do not expect new ideas or mutual interest to crop up; you are doing something to them, not with them.

Demographic segments: Marketers divide their audiences into demographic into demographic segments: old, young: rich, poor; college education, only high school; urban, rural: and so on. Marketers are interested in the difference, in finding the specific groups of people most likely to buy their product or services.

Stereotypes: Through research, marketers know who is most likely to want their soda sweet, their pants loose, and their cars bigs. Stereotypes need to have only enough truth to generate some sales.

Means to your ends: In marketing, the audience members are means, not ends in themselves, deserving of respect. Marketing is premised on using people rather than engaging them. Although a salesperson may try to convince people that she is helping them, which sometimes might be true, in the end, she just wants to sell her product because it is her job.


Communication in any democratic framework requires genuine engagement, recognizable by everyone involved.

Two-way process: Real engagement includes both talking and listening. As a speaker, you have a responsibility to treat the audience in the way you would like to be treated, which boils down to the golden rule. Although public speaking is part of public dialogue, it is not actual conversation, and your audience may not always be able to respond. But you still have the responsibility to address the audience as if the members were going to respond and have their turn.

Commodities: Public speaking that is engaged does not segment the audience and deal with every demographic difference piecemeal. Instead, the democratic imperative is to talk to the whole audience, because everyone is part of this conversation. The skilled public speaker finds a way to speak across differences of identity, beliefs, and values.

Self-risk: If you see your speech as part of a larger dialogue, you approach it as if someone in the audience might change your mind

Deserving Respect: In the public dialogue, if you are speaking to audience members who have little knowledge about your topic, it might be easy to mislead them. You can assess the integrity of what you are asking your audience to believe or do by imagining that this is an audience of experts.
The hallmark of successfully engaging your audience is recognition of a common interest in your topic. To be an effective public speaker, you should see your speech and your audience as part of a larger public conversation.

Publics arise out of the common experience of a shared problem.

Whether your topic is large or small, local or global, your job as a speaker is to create an address a concerned public

You participate in public conversations in two ways in public speaking classes.
1. As a speaker addressing public problems
2. As an audience member participating in issues of public concern

Both of these ways of participating in public matters are broader than your specific community. A community is made up of the people who share a common location or institution.

Ideas that you present in a speech may influence a member of your audience to blog about them, speak about them to another community, write an editorial, or engage in broader dialogue beyond the classroom in some way.

Advancing the Public Conversation

Speaking to a public means speaking in a dialogue to a group of people whom you treat as reasonable, interested, and engaged partners. In speaking to a public, you are speaking to a public, you are speaking to your audience about an issue of common concern, using a common vocabulary.

In a successful public speerch, the speaker and audience are on the same side.

A public speaker will ask:

What public, exactly, should listen?
Why should this public listen?
What common goals might we share in speaking and listening to each other?