What Are the Four Different Types of Audience in Communications?

Mary Ellen Guffey, a communications writer, categorizes audiences as friendly, neutral, disinterested or hostile. Effectively communicating the same information to each of these kinds of audiences requires a speaker to make adjustments to how he speaks and organize his talking points.

A speaker can take advantage of a friendly audience by taking some risks and allowing appropriate types of audience participation. With neutral audiences, speakers are encouraged to clearly describe different aspects of the subject while employing a conservative delivery style. With a disinterested audience, techniques that engage listeners such as personal anecdotes and simple visuals can be effective. Hostile audiences can pose significant challenges for public speakers, but they can be dealt with through clear organization of the information along with minimizing chances for the audience to interrupt the presentation or ask questions.