Know your audience and use their information to format your success

Have you ever had a conversation with another person and quickly understood that they had no idea what you needed, wanted or desired – or even cared about where you were ‘coming from?’  Or how about sitting in an audience and you could tell the speaker on the platform had no idea who was in the audience?

Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty

The issue with A&E and Duck Dynasty is a perfect example. Now that the cable network has reinstated the amazingly popular show, it is worth the time to determine why it even happened.

My humble opinion is that A&E didn’t understand their audience when they knee jerked and suspended Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Family from the filming of the show. Now because of the fevered response of the advocacy groups, the eclectic family will be back full force.

Robertson’s son, Willie wrote on Twitter, “Back to work!!! So proud of all the fans of the show and family. Ole Phil may be a little crude but his heart is good. He’s the Real Deal!”

Also from CNN, Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer, the group that gathered 260,000 signatures on a petition at, said in a Friday night statement that he and individuals like him would “remain vigilant as we measure whether A&E’s actions reflect true tolerance, diversity, and mutual respect — including their equal embrace of our biblically based values and deeply held beliefs.”

Paying attention to your ‘audience’ whether one-on-one or one-on-many is the only way to get the results you want. Like A&E, paying the consequences of failing this step can cost you time and often money!

  1. Be a good listener. Stop ‘skimming’ and be present. Turn off your self-talk, don’t mentally plan your retort. Train yourself to listen between the lines.
  2. Paraphrase their request, need, idea or whatever, to insure you understand exactly what they said.  This step of clarification reduces the chance of conflict and misunderstandings.
  3. Ask questions to gather additional background and information when talking one-on-one or one-on-few.
  4. When you are speaking to a group, meet and greet when possible. Find out what their expected outcomes are.  Know your audience.
  5. Consider doing a ‘needs analysis’ of the group prior to putting together your talk. A suggestion would be to ask three questions and base your presentation around what they want not what you want to tell them.
  6. Focus on what you want them to do, think or feel at the close of your talk. This is your real action statement.

In addition, I like to ask if there is anything that I should not address. For example, a topic that my client or the audience would consider as offensive.  Do your homework.  It pays off.  Do you think GQ magazine knows their audience?

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