As a speaker, there are times you might be addressing an all-female audience or an all-male audience. Unless your topic is geared to just women or just men, however, you will find that, in most instances, your audiences are mixed. The question is how mixed are they and does it matter? The answer is yes.
There is no doubt that it is easier to speak to women than men; and, if your audience is composed of more women than men, regard it as a female audience. In that sense, you have more liberties because women react more easily than men. They are quicker to respond with laughter and you will find they laugh louder and longer than their male counterparts.
When my audience is composed of a majority of women, I will discuss more personal issues than I would were the situation reversed. I am also more likely to make jokes about men (and women) – although I do it with taste. My topic on voice and presentation skills easily lends itself to humor. Were I addressing an all-male audience, however, I would not, under any circumstances, joke about men, although I would have no qualms about admitting the foibles of the female sex.
Let’s assume that you have a relatively even split. What are the rules in this situation? My advice is as follows:
1. Unless you have been invited to discuss a topic dealing with religion, or politics, I would avoid those issues like the plague. It is best if your audience does not know your feelings on those subjects. While you can certainly discuss sex, if it pertains to your subject, do not get too descriptive.
2. Do not discuss your personal problems unless they are part of your topic and you are demonstrating how you solved them. If your marriage is in trouble, for example, your stage is not the time nor the place to talk about it.
3. Under no circumstances should you use language that could be considered offensive. Were you a male speaker addressing a combat unit in the military, yes, you would be to get away with questionable language, but generally speaking, the stage is not the place for language that is considered vulgar or indecent.
While an all-male audience is undoubtedly the most difficult group to address, you will find mixed audiences much easier because of the presence of the women. Once the women are reactive, so too will be the men. The latter will feel much less obvious in their vocal response if others around them are in agreement and displaying it.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your presentation skills, visit Voice Dynamic.