The Importance of Audience Analysis

One of the main goals of a presentation is to inform and persuade the audience. The ability to persuade the opinion of others is largely dependent on how well you know the audience. The more you know about the audience, the more your words will have an effect on them. That’s why it is so important to do research and perform an audience analysis prior to your presentation. Audience analysis involves learning about the wants and needs of your audience as well as their attitudes, beliefs, and prior knowledge of the topic. Through extensive research, you can gather information about your audience and use that information to tailor your message to better fit their needs.

Why is Knowing Your Audience Important?

Audiences can be fickle, and oftentimes they would rather be anywhere else than listening to a presentation. You want to engage your audience so you capture their attention and make your presentation worth their while. The only way you can do this is by presenting your material in a way that is relevant to your audience. Everyone has different perspectives, personalities, and viewpoints and this makes us value things in different ways. For example, if you are shopping for a car and really value trunk and luggage space, the salesperson would be wasting their time talking to you about gas mileage. They would be far more likely to sell a car if they spoke at length about the vast amount of space available in the vehicle. This same principle applies to presentations. The more your material is tailored to the specific needs and interests of your audience, the more memorable your presentation will be for them. 

Audience Analysis Factors

Audience Expectations

When people attend a presentation, they bring expectations about the topic and speaker with them. What does the audience hope to gain from your presentation and how can you make sure those needs are met? Knowing this information allows you to tailor your material so the message is congruent with the audience’s expectations.

Knowledge of the Topic

Audience knowledge of a topic can vary greatly and therefore, speakers should find out what the audience already knows about their topic. If a speaker launches into a technical presentation and the listeners are not familiar with the basics, they would lose interest right away. On the other hand, underestimating the audience’s knowledge may result in a presentation that sounds condescending.

Attitude Toward the Topic

How does the audience feel about your topic? You wouldn’t want to waste your time trying to convince them of something they already agree with you about. That’s why you need to find out ahead of time how the audience perceives your topic and whether or not you will need to be persuasive. 


Demographics include a number of factors such as age, gender, religion, ethnic background, occupation, education, and countless other categories. Presenters must keep these demographics in mind as they choose which information to share with their audience.