Group Affiliations: God, Politics, and Beyond

Other categories of belonging can also influence how your audience responds to messages. Two of these categories concern the ones your parents or guardians may have told you were inappropriate to discuss in polite company or at the dinner table: religion and politics.

Unlike the more traditional categories of demography, figuring out the religious and political beliefs of your audience is more difficult. Religious and political beliefs are diverse, and like most of the self-identifying categories we have reviewed, it is often impossible to tell what they might be just from looking at a person. Sometimes the speaking venue can offer indications of an audience’s religious or political beliefs. For example, when speaking at a church, a synagogue, or a mosque, it’s likely that the audience has some association with the religion or denomination affiliated with that venue. In general, however, in most speaking situations you cannot assume the religion or politics of an audience.

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