Speaking to your audience in a relevant and impactful way is one of the biggest challenges every company faces on a daily basis. Your customers will respond either positively, negatively or not at all to everything you say or write to them. So let’s take a look at how you can understand your audience better.
To begin with you need to become aware of your intended audience by approaching them on an appropriate level. Ask yourself what their reaction might be to your intended message. Also think about how you’d like to express your idea. By putting yourself in the shoes of your customer, you will gain insight into what they want to know and how they want to be addressed.
Consider what features and benefits to present to the person on the receiving end. Word choice and message length (always try to be as brief as possible) will show your recipient how much thought and care you put into your message, whether spoken or written.
Audiences are composed of people, all of whom have different perceptions. By showing your audience that you gave careful consideration about what you’re communicating, you’re demonstrating that you care about them.
To avoid having messages misperceived, misconstrued or misunderstood, choose a language that your audience will understand. Think of the individuals who make up the bulk of your audience before you communicate with them. Ask yourself:
- Who is the audience?
- Why am I writing/presenting?
- What do I want my audience to know or do?
- What do they already know?
- What is their level of understanding?
- What is their likely attitude about the topic?
- How can I honour my audience’s needs and perspectives?
- What does my audience want to achieve?
- What medium will support the message the best — e-mail, letter, memo, report, proposal, phone call and so on.
- What format or layout will appeal to the audience and support the message?
Then, as the final step before beginning your communication, organize your ideas. It’s a true sign of respect for your audience. Show that you are concerned for their time and attention. Plan to present the information that will make the most sense to them. Your organizational pattern may take any form (chronological, inside to outside, top to bottom, etc.). Your aim is to ensure that someone new to your subject area will understand it right from the word go. Finally, approach the task with a positive attitude and a clear purpose. It does take a bit of practice at first, but put the advice we’ve given you to good use and you’ll be up and away in no time at all