As a science communicator, you might be focusing too much on your content and its delivery. In this process, you might be forgetting one of the key aspects of direct communication. The thing we’re talking about here is the audience. Yes, when you know your audience, you’ll certainly be effective in speaking to an audience.
If you neglect this important part of science communication, you’ll fail to create an impact. It is, therefore, extremely important that you keep your audience in mind. You must do this while writing and practicing for your speech.
1. Know who is your audience
While you’re writing and preparing yourself for the speech, you must think about who you’re going to speak to. If they’re a group of elders, talking to them about topics for the youth won’t really help. Although this may sound a bit too obvious, many speakers do make this mistake. There are some brilliant science communicators out there who often give some wonderful speeches.
However, they are completely out of context with regards to their audience. It is important for you to learn how to customize a speech for different audiences. You can enroll for a highly effective training program, which teaches you how to make this happen. Today, some of these programs are available online.
2. Don’t miss the context
Another great aspect of any form of communication is context. This helps especially in science communication, where understanding your audience is extremely important. Consider the venue where you’ll be speaking. It can be a corporate office or a classroom in one of the colleges. This will help you in deciding how to make your speech appealing to that particular audience.
Let’s try to understand this with an example. A woman giving a speech at the wedding of her best friend won’t need to try too hard. What she says can be personal, humorous, and entertaining. Now, let’s say the same woman is to speak in one of the corporate conferences. Here she needs to be more formal and speak in a structured manner. Of course, this will need a certain amount of preparation before the speech.
3. Understand what the audience might already know
Imagine that you’re about to speak to the students of molecular biology. Now, they might be already knowing many things related to the topic. So, if you spend quite some time explaining things that they already know, they’ll obviously lose interest. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential that you know how much they know about molecular biology.
You can ask their professors about the topics they’re well versed with. This will help you to come up with topics you know that might be fairly new to them. When you come across certain things that they might already know, don’t explain them in detail.
4. Consider the size of your audience
Your way of speaking to larger audiences will be somewhat different from how you speak to smaller groups. When you speak in front of a small crowd, you’ll not even need a mic. You’ll have the opportunity to be a little more informal. There’ll be more of a personal connection with your audience.
When you’re speaking in front of a large crowd, things will be quite different. It is important, therefore, to consider the size of your audience before you practice your speech.