An important feature when speaking is knowing who your audience is. This is one of the most vital pieces of information you need to have if you are going to be successful. However, this is not just for public speaking. With any form of advertising or marketing, you need to know your audience.
I was reminded of this when my wife came home from work one day with a pen from IBM that was sent to her office. It is a $150 pen in a very nice box that was sent with a letter. The letter talked about how they have done their research and feel that they could help improve her employers bottom line. Sounds like a great deal right? One problem - the company she works at has been bankrupt since last year and is closing its doors on Wednesday.
So, they clearly did not do their research. They probably did some research - maybe they looked at some old data and looked at a couple of key things - but they clearly did not know their audience.
Make sure you have done your research. Make sure you have prepared yourself for your audience. Fine-tuning your speech based upon your audience is so important it cannot be ignored. Take the lesson from IBM to heart - if you can do this, you are going to take one step closer to being a successful speaker.