Finding out as much about your audience as you can should be your first step when preparing a speech. Questions to ask yourself include:
Is it an internal audience or external?
If it is external, what do they know about you, your company or your story?
Are they people within the United States or from around the world?
Are you there to merely inform, or are you there to persuade them to side with you, buy your widget or change their way of doing business?
If you are there to persuade, what will move them to action? Your credentials, deep expertise, clients? Statistics and data? Or, perhaps, you want to touch people on an emotional level with a story or picture.
What time of day is the speech? (This is important because your 15 minute prepared talk may need to be cut back to 3 minutes if it is10:30 at night. Or, if you are kicking off an event at 8:00 am, you may need to be more entertaining.)
Finally, what mood are they in? Is the client mad at you? Is a boss worried about the bottom line? Or is a member of your staff leery about the changes you want to make.
Knowing as much as you can about your listeners will be helpful to putting together a presentation, expressly tailored to your audience and their needs.