Audience: Know Thy Speaker! 7 Tips for the Audience

Image courtesy of istockphoto/korhankaracan

As a frequent keynote speaker and lifelong student of communication, I often hear the advice, “Know your audience.”  It’s a speaker’s starting point.  You need to know who you are talking to, why they are attending, and what their goals are.  Knowing your audience is crucial.

On the other hand, I’ve never heard advice for audiences.   Since all of us are more often in an audience than in front of the room, I thought I would share some tips:

1.  Know your speaker.  If you have a program, look at the speaker’s information.  Did she write a book?  Does he have a blog or appear often in the media?  It’s important to know where someone is coming from before you listen to the content.  You will spot bias as well as expertise.