Presentation Skills Training

A skills programme by Tremendis Learning

Listener Analysis

Listener Analysis

Listener Analysis

As you prepare a talk, conduct a listener analysis - analyze the people who are going to receive your talk. This is similar to what you'd do before starting to write a memo or report. This information will help you determine what to say.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What do my listeners want to know?
If you don't provide information that interests them, you'll put them to sleep. Find out what they care about and cover this material in your talk.  The most important step in preparing any presentation is to understand your audience.

How much do they already know?
They may be experts or they may know almost nothing about your topic. You don't want to "talk down" to your listeners. But you also don't want to speak over their heads. Determine what your audience knows and pitch your talk to your audience's level of understanding.

Where do they stand?
Your listeners may be likely to agree with what you're saying, or they may need a lot of convincing. Find out their attitudes; then determine what to say to persuade them of your point of view.

The 3 Ts

One of the best ways of organizing any presentation is also the simplest. It's called the 3 Ts, which are as follows:

  1. Tell the audience what you're going to say at the beginning of the talk.
  2. Tell the audience what you're going to say to them in the body of the talk.
  3. Tell the audience what you told them in the conclusion.

Let's explain this further. Many speakers simply launch into a presentation without ever explaining their purpose for speaking. They expect the audience to figure it out. Frequently, the audience doesn't or won't figure it out, and they quickly lose interest.


The attention span of most adults is about seven minutes.
At the beginning of your presentation, you should explain your purpose for speaking. This tells the audience why you are talking to them. You can almost literally present your summary sentences. "I want to explain how my computer-training course will help me on the job. I'll give you three examples of how I expect to use what I learned." Now your listeners know what to expect. You won't lose their attention. During the body of the talk, mention your summary sentences again as you cover each topic. At the conclusion, you can repeat another version of the summary sentences. "As you can see, the course was extremely helpful. The three examples I've just discussed show you how I intend to use the course." This leaves the purpose of your talk firmly fixed in the minds of your listeners. 

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