When I first started my business some years ago, I was told that, “insurance people think they’re perfect but realtors know it.” While this was an interesting tidbit I stored away for future reference, I have found that audiences vary far beyond those in the insurance or real estate business.
The one commonality I have seen is that, in general, women make a better audience than men. There are a few answers for this that all have to do with the fact that the female sex is still not the same as the male sex even if college courses today try to tell us differently.
As much as those college courses believe that we are the same, I have found differences that definitely show we are different psychologically as well as physically – and I am not talking about the sexual differences. Those differences are what make for the differences in the audience.
[Did you know that women tend to carry their stress in their shoulders, neck and throat regions? Men, on the other hand, do not. Their stress is often found in their mid-torso region resulting in ulcers and other digestive problems.]
From all my years in voice training, I know that women tend to be more colorful than men. What this means is that they are more expressive in their vocal variety as well as their facial expression and body language. They allow for their emotions to be seen and to be heard. The male sex, however, often keep their emotions bottled up inside.
Because women will express themselves more freely, they will be quicker to laugh during a speech or presentation as well as laugh longer than a male audience. This is especially true when you are talking to those from a particular company or firm in which various levels of the administration are present in the audience. In this case, men may not want to be the first to express their pleasure or joy in front of those who hold a higher position. (This advice does not hold true for the military as long as the audience is primarily male or for an all-male club or organization like the Freemasons.)
Knowing your audience is certainly key to your success in public speaking; and, one of the best pieces of advice I learned many years ago is to research the company or the organization to which you will be speaking. As a generalization, however, female audiences are more relaxed and more responsive to speakers than male audiences.