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How Do You Know Your Audience “GETS IT!”?

Updated: May 6

Audience Temperature

Constantly, Take the Temperature of your Audience!

The Goal of all Communications; written, spoken or visual, is the same. We want the audience as quickly as possible to ‘GET IT!’

They may not agree with all of our message  They may not agree with any of our message.  But unless they ‘GET IT’ we can’t have a meaningful conversation going forward.

You won’t know if they’re “Getting It!”, or not, unless you constantly monitor the reception of your message.  Here are several ways to do this:

  1. Look at their Eyes

    1. If they are giving you eye contact, they’re paying attention and trying to understand what you are saying.  This is a good sign.  People need to be active, not passive, listeners.

  2. Check Facial Expressions

    1. Confusion, neutrality, boredom, or enlightenment will come across pretty clearly.  Everyone is not going to grasp your message in the same way at the same time.  But it is important the majority of the audience is “Getting It!”

    2. Nodding heads, or heads indicating ‘I don’t agree’ are good signs.  These people are paying attention and comparing your message to their world.  (Remember, they don’t have to agree with you.)

    3. Yawning, snoring and drooling are not good signs!  They could indicate personal physical problems, like lack of sleep, but if there are lots of audience members doing these things, change something in  your delivery – Quickly!

  3. Look at their Body Language

    1. Leaning forward indicates attentiveness

    2. Slouching is not being as interested

    3. Folded arms indicates defensiveness, but they are “Getting It!”

  4. Ask if they are “Getting It!”

    1. Several times throughout many of my presentations, I’ll ask the audience, “Does this make sense?

    2. After asking, pause, and look into the crowd to receive feedback.  Even take a question or two to be sure the message is being received correctly.

    3. Sometimes things have to be repeated, and sometimes stated in different ways.

  5. People learn in different ways: audibly, visually, and kinesthetically.  Have your presentation touch on all these learning styles.

  6. Have a specific time set aside to Answer Questions.

    1. You should tell the audience about this when giving the Opening to Your Talk.

    2. The Opening is where you “Tell them what you’re going to tell them.” The fact that you’ve set aside time for answering questions is important and part of your ‘Up Front Contract’ with your audience.

    3. This Q&A Period should not be at the end of your talk.

      1. You want the Closing of your Speech to be powerful, and the possibility of ending a presentation on negative questions is avoided by taking them before the closing.  Besides, the Q&A and Closing are two distinctive parts of the Delivery of your Speech.

The Bottom Line is this.   You want your audience to understand your message.  Unless you constantly check, throughout your presentation, if they are “Getting It!“, you could be a non-communicator.  You certainly don’t want to be that!


Pausing is a key component of presenting.

About the Author

Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

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