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Understanding Your Audience in Speech

Updated on May 26, 2017

For the purposes of this course, your classmates are your audience.

For this activity, describe the audience by identifying social, cultural, and ethical considerations you must take into account when you develop your presentation.

How will the things valued by the audience affect your choice in topic and delivery? Use information from the discussion and the blog in this module (as available) to inform this assignment.

Why is it important to know your audience before you prepare a speech? Use an example from your life to support your claim.

When creating my speech it is important that I identify and understand the social, cultural, and ethical considerations of my audience. For this speech my audience is going to be a mix of different ages and genders, social backgrounds, cultures, and ethical beliefs. When developing my speech I will need to consider the fact that my audience will all share a social background of being online students at Southern New Hampshire University. The fact that my audience is composed of online students tells me that my audience will be scattered around the United States and possible other countries. This means that my audience will have a wide range of cultural values. In the creation of my speech I will need to ensure that my topic is ethically sound, meaning I can defend my speech on ethical grounds if questioned or challenged and that I would be comfortable if my audience was aware of my true motives for my speech (Lucas, 2016).

The decision on the topic of my speech will be influenced by the values of my audience. I wish to avoid offending my audience so I will want to choose a topic that is not likely to cause discomfort or offense to my audience. I decided to avoid the topics on sexploitation and Big Brother as many people have very strong opinions, values, and feelings connected to those topics. Instead I plan to choose a topic that either people are not as aware of and one that is unlikely to cause accidental offense.

It is important for a person to know and understand their audience so that they are aware of how to deliver their speech. For instance if a person was presenting a speech on medicine to a group of high school students then the speaker would want to avoid using doctor jargon. When I took a high school public speaking class one of the students gave a speech on the dangers of tanning beds; the topic was interesting to the student, but the presenter focused too much on the science of the dangers and ended up boring most of the audience. For my speech I will make certain to not use jargon and to make sure my speech is delivered at a level that is suitable to my audience.


Lucas, S. (2016). The Art of Public Speaking (12th ed.). McGraw Hill.

Good speakers think about the audience first and deliver their messages in a way that appeals to their audience. To learn more about their audience, many speakers perform an audience analysis through surveys, observation, or polling. For the purposes of this class, your peers are your audience. In order to learn more about your peers’ values and interests, you are asked to complete the survey described below.

In the course blog, create a new entry and select five topics that interest you from the provided list. In one to two sentences for each topic, explain why the topic is interesting to you.

  • Big brother
  • Commerce clause
  • Consumer issues
  • Contamination
  • Corporate power
  • Deconsumption
  • Dematerialization
  • Dying U.S. dollar
  • Farm subsidies
  • Food additives
  • For-profit colleges
  • Gentrification
  • Gold standard
  • Government spending
  • Inflation
  • Invasive species
  • Medical marijuana
  • Nanny state
  • Nuclear power
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Policing for profit
  • Red light cameras
  • Protectionism
  • Redevelopment
  • Securing our borders
  • Sexploitation

Invasive species

The topic of invasive species interests me because I live in Florida where there are a good number of invasive species. When I think of invasive species the two that come to mind are iguanas and cane toads.

Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana is a topic that is of interest to me because medical marijuana is now being grown in Florida and Doctors have already been approved to prescribe it. I would be interested to learn about the ways it will influence medical treatment and laws; I wonder if there will be a law for driving after having used medical marijuana.

Plastic shopping bags

Plastic shopping bags are a topic that I find interesting because of the issues that come with disposing of them. I find it interesting that more stores don’t use paper bags which are recyclable.

Policing for profit

Policing for profit is not something I had heard of before this blog, but I find it disturbing that the police have the power to take a person’s money and property if they suspect the assets are tied in some way to illicit activity. The fact that state cops can keep up to 80% of the proceeds means that the law could easily be abused in order to finance the police department.

Red light cameras

Red light cameras are common in Florida and I find the debate about them interesting. I find the topic interesting because while they do prevent car crashes they can also cause others by making people feel like they have to slam them brakes when it would have been safer to continue through the light.


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