Chapter 3: You and Your Audience

21 Conclusion

image of a woman with short curly hair and a pencil above her ear

Returning to Abe, who is preparing a presentation for her company’s board of directors, how might her presentation be more successful based on what you’ve learned in this chapter? What type of research might she do to understand her audience better (e.g., board members are often described on organizational websites)? What might she want to examine about her self-perception and confidence in presenting for this audience? What might she need to watch out for as she presents?

Check Your Understanding


Attitude – your immediate disposition toward a concept or an object.
Awareness – what you pay attention to, how you carry out your intentions, and what you remember of your activities and experiences each day.
Beliefs – ideas based on your previous experiences and convictions and may not necessarily be based on logic or fact.
Demographic traits – refer to the characteristics that make someone an individual, but that he or she has in common with others (e.g., age, gender, height, ethnicity).
Difference – ideas or items that are distinct or even opposite from each other.
Fairness – involves respect for the audience and individual members—recognizing that each person has basic rights and is worthy of courtesy.
Honesty – stating the truth as you perceive it.
Interpretation – how you assign meaning to your experiences using mental structures known as schemata.
Looking glass self – how you see yourself reflected in other people’s reactions to you and then form your self-concept based on how you believe other people see you.
Mutuality – the speaker searches for common ground and understanding with his or her audience, establishing this space and building on it throughout the speech.
Nonjudgmentalism  – involves willingness to examine diverse ideas and viewpoints.
Organizing – how you sort and categorize information that you perceive based on innate and learned cognitive patterns.
Perception – the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting information.
Perceptual field – the world around you (your environment).
Proximity – ideas or physical items that are close together.
Reciprocity – a relationship of mutual exchange and interdependence.
Salience  – the degree to which something attracts your attention in a particular context.
Selecting – how you focus your attention on certain incoming sensory information.
Self-esteem  – how you feel about yourself; your feelings of self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-respect.
Self-fulfilling prophecy – how your behavior comes to match and mirror others’ expectations (i.e., if other expect you to perform poorly, it’s likely that you will).
Self-image – how you see yourself, how you would describe yourself to others.
Similarity – ideas or physical items that share common attributes.
Values – core concepts and ideas of what you consider good or bad, right or wrong, or what is worth the sacrifice.

Chapter References

Segments of this chapter were selected from the following open textbook: Communication in the real world: An introduction to communication studies. University of Minnesota Libraries. (2016). Retrieved from licensed  CC BY NC SA.

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Coren, S., & Girgus, J. S. (1980). Principles of perceptual organization and spatial distortion: The gestalt illusions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 6(3), 404-412.

Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (1991). Social cognition (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill

Insel, P., & Jacobson, L. (1975). What do you expect? An inquiry into self-fulfilling prophecies. Menlo Park, CA: Cummings.

McLean, S. (2003). The basics of speech communication. Boston, MA: Allyn Bacon.

Oakes, J. (1985). Keeping track: How schools structure inequality. Birmingham, NY: Vail-Ballou Press.

Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, Winston.

Sadker, M., Sadker, D. (1994). Failing at fairness: How America’s schools cheat girls. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Schugurensky, D. (Ed.). (2009). Selected moments of the 20th century. In History of education: A work in progress. Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Retrieved from


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