Photo from here.
When you prepare to step onto the speaking platform, have you taken into account your audience's learning styles?
As a speaker and Bible study teacher, I'm always looking for ways to ensure that the content I share can be absorbed by a diverse audience. As a standard, asking the event coordinator to identify the expected audience, becoming familiar with venue layout, and, of course, prayer, play important roles.
It's also crucial to understand how different people receive information best. For example, if you're preparing to speak to a room full of children, would you use only complex charts and graphs as visual aids? If you're speaking to a room full of artists, would you make your point with business facts and figures instead of passing out the paint brushes for some hands-on time?
In short, learning style matters. There are three basic learning styles. Incorporating aspects from each style contributes significantly to how the audience absorbs your content. The three styles and characteristics of each are:
1) Visual: Learn by Seeing
- Typically neat and clean in appearance
- They sometimes close their eyes to visualize or remember something
- Take detailed notes (Do you have handouts?)
- Benefit from colorful illustrations and presentations (Do you have visual aids?)
- Like to see what they're learning
- They'll find something to watch when bored
- May not coordinate colors or clothes, but can explain why they're wearing what they're wearing
- Remember by speaking lessons out loud or repeating them (Do you ask them to repeat back important points?)
- Gain understanding by reading aloud or listening to audio books
- Hum or talk when bored
- Need to be active and take frequent breaks (Do you speak for an hour non-stop?)
- Speak with hands and gestures (Do you stand stiff behind the podium?)
- Appreciate physically expressed encouragement (e.g., a pat on the back)
- Recall activity, but have trouble remembering what was said
- Enjoy hands-on tasks (e.g., art, craft projects, cooking, etc.)
- Find reasons to tinker or move when bored
- Sit near doors so they can get up and move easily
If you're preparing for an upcoming presentation, what learning style from this list might you need to incorporate? What tips can you share with other aspiring speakers?