Identify Your Audience

The first question to ask when invited to share your story is “who is the audience?”

Why is this question important?

Identifying your audience before sharing your story allows you to create a tailored, impactful, and engaging story that meets their needs, grabs your audience’s attention, effectively communicates your message, and helps you anticipate questions or concerns.

  • Tailoring the message. This step allows you to customize your story to the specific needs, interests, and knowledge level of the audience.
  • Communicating effectively. Different audiences have different communication preferences and styles.
  • Addressing concerns and questions. This step allows you to anticipate their concerns, questions, or objectives.

For example: If I’m speaking to other peers, I can use terms like “RCO” and “been out there,” and they will understand. When talking to hospital staff, it’s important to use language they are familiar with.

Types of audiences

  • Peers ​
  • Stakeholders​
  • Policymakers​
  • Media​
  • Businesses​
  • Providers​
  • Schools​
  • Law enforcement

How much time do I have?

Knowing how much time you have will allow you to plan properly.

Respect the audience’s time and time needed for other speakers; knowing how much time you have also helps you focus on clarity and demonstrates professionalism.

Preparing for a 15-minute speaking engagement is a lot different than preparing for a 1-minute video. The key is to prepare a concise message that conveys the three or four elements of your central idea (or core message).