Understand Your Audience

Writing Tutorial

Understand Your Audience

Intro

Communication is a two-way exercise. Without knowing something about your readers you’ll rarely get your ideas across. What are their goals and priorities? What pressures do they face? What motivates them?

The most important things to realize about all readers – especially in business – are:
• They are busy
• They don’t necessarily feel compelled to read what you put before them
• They will ignore you If you don’t get to your point quickly

Before you write, think about your reader(s) in very real terms. Consider details such as their:
• Age
• Gender
• Ethnicity and language proficiency
• Role at work
• Level of education
• Knowledge of the topic/subject matter

Sample Problem

As soon as you imagine your audience in specific terms, the quality of your message will go up – guaranteed, because now you will tailor your message to suit your audience. You’ll highlight the things they care about most – the ever-important “what’s in it for them.”

➢ Imagine real faces on your computer screen or piece of paper. Then picture their reactions as you write. Are they smiling because they understand or agree with you? Are they frowning because they don’t understand what you’re saying?

➢ You get my drift. Thinking of your audience in real terms makes you get crystal clear about your message.

➢ ☺ ☹ 😐

After reading the following scenario, write down a description of “the boss” AND write down what’s in it for her if she approves the request.

I want my boss to approve my request for the company to pay for 3 business communications courses. Our company doesn’t have a formal policy on professional development, and I know she will be cautious about the cost and the time off work required. She’ll definitely want to see that it’s worth it.

Describe the boss:

What’s in it for her if she approves the request?

Solution

Exercise #1: Consider your reader

The boss: female, early 40s, educated, professional, frugal, ambitious

What’s in it for her?

• increased credibility with customers
• could delegate more writing-related tasks.



About The Author

Writing Specialist And English Instructor
My specialty is writing - literary essays and any type of business writing. I have worked one-on-one with students as an instructor and as a writing centre tutor in universities and high schools. Students arrive at the centre often feeling overwhelmed, lost, or confused. I always helped them get cla...
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