Public Speaking

Audience Analysis – Chapter 5

I) Postmodern Paradoxes
i. A survey in 1994 showed that only 16 percent of college freshmen discussed politics frequently.
ii. Public speaking may be most valuable at just the time when it seems most difficult.
iii. The audience-analysis aspect of rhetorical competence will be especially helpful here because finding our own voice often requires discovering what others think and want.
b. Dilemmas of Diversity
i. Dilemmas include:
1. difference versus similarity
2. hope vs. despair
3. opportunity vs. oppression.
ii. Difference vs. Similarity
1. Percentage of students describing their mother as a full-time homemaker declined from 31.4 (in 1979) to 12.9 (in 1994).
2. 90% of today’s married couples met in a relatively homogeneous social settings.
3. The term “stereotype: entered the social-science lexicon during a period of time when America’s population was shifting from small towns to large urban centers.
4. Today’s public speakers will need to attune themselves both to the increase in sociological diversity and to the psychological urge for similarity.
iii. Hope vs. Despair
1. eight out of ten Americans are likely to respond that they have to attained or expect to attain the American Dream of freedom, equality, happiness, and financial security.
2. Public speakers in the 1990’s will want to take note of the alternating mood of the public.
iv. Opportunity vs. Oppression
1. “The American Dream” brings to mind, people mention both desirable results and favorable personal circumstances.
2. Below the surface of America’s middle-class aspirations and expectations lurks concern that oppressive social conditions may hold back personal progress.
3. Since the 1970s international competition and reorganization of the economy have brought a decline in the average person’s job security and real wages.
4. All people like to think that they have a bright future; but in an era where change and diversity loom large, it also may be appealing to believe that our failures are not our own.
c. Public Talk: Merging personal and social responsibility
1. Public talk gets us to the heart of the post-modern dilemmas by helping us work out—for a particular issue at a particular time—the relative roles of individual and society.
2. in the 1930’s, Americans accepted that the scope of depression-era problems demanded that national agencies be given freedom to manage life in areas ranging from electricity to welfare.
3. Audience analysis is a key to making sure that public talk is worthwhile for speakers and helpful for listeners.
II) The Active Audience
1. People interpret what is going on around the, and then they work out a line of action appropriate to what they think.
2. Given an active audience, all we an realistically expect is that listeners will weigh our words, compare what we say against their existing views, and then think or act in ways appropriate for them.
3. The term image system sometimes is used to designate the personal knowledge of life held by listeners.
4. The image system may be divided into three kinds of thoughts: beliefs, attitudes and values.
ii. Beliefs
1. Two types of beliefs: verifiable beliefs-amount to factual knowledge of the world, and Primitive beliefs-do not provide specific factual information as much as they give us a view of how the world works.
2. You should be concerned with the audience’s store of verifiable and primitive beliefs that pertain to your speech topic.
iii. Attitudes
1. An attitude is a tendency to approve or disapprove of an object, event, or condition.
2. Rokeach-attitudes are overall judgments of people’s beliefs.
iv. Values
1. People hold two types of values:
a. Terminal- Deals with conditions in which people live, such as freedom and world peace.
b. Instrumental- Deals with human conduct such as courage or honesty.
2. Members of your audience hold values that pertain to your speech content-serve as sources of motivation for listeners.
3. Tendencies of people to share images make successful audience analysis possible for speakers.
III) Learning about your audience
a. Demographic generalizations
1. Demographics are characteristics of a group of people.
2. Calls our attention to such features of our listeners as sex, age, education, income and religious creed.
3. Useful to public speaker because members of a particular group often have had certain experiences in common.
ii. Age
1. Age is related to values and lifestyles.
2. Generalizations about the age of you listeners can help you prepare a speech.
iii. Sex
1. We live in an era in changing sex rules – gender based generalizations are difficult and controversial.
2. Women put time to take more of a nurturing-helping role.
iv. Education
1. Level of education can serve as a basis of some for predictions of some on how they will respond to speeches.
2. Use generalizations about educational attainment as basis of speech preparation.
v. Residence
1. Attitudes and values of Americans vary according to place of residence
2. Dividing country into geographic regions also supplies useful information about audiences.
vi. Occupation and Income
1. Knowing