Keys to Understanding Your Audience

Julie Shenkman
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Any type of communication involves being aware of who your audience is and how they might interpret it. If you think about it, almost everything we read or hear is filtered through our understanding of who is communicating and who they are trying to reach. For example, a headline in the paper may say ?Vikings Rip Apart The Bears?. Knowing that this is a sports report, we don't actually believe that a group of Vikings showed up in full battle regalia to violently rip apart bears in the forest. Many times people get into difficult situations because they don't have a firm understanding of who their audience is. What you may say to a group of friends isn't the same thing that you would say to a national magazine reporter. Unfortunately, this sort of slip up has cost many celebrities and everyday people their careers. On as smaller scale, sales people have blown a sales call, a marketing campaign and job seekers have be overlooked due to not understanding their audience and therefore, not being able to communicate effectively. To avoid having this happen to you, before you create any sort of message, be it a cover letter, a marketing email, a tweet or a project at work, you should chose the sort of language and the format that will be most easily understood by your audience. Think about all of the people who will be receiving the message and ask yourself these questions:
  • Who is the audience?
  • Why am I doing this? What is it that I want the audience to do or to know?
  • How will they feel about my message?
  • What do they already know and what is there level of understanding?
  • What do you think the audience wants from you?
  • Which medium will best suit your message, or are there several mediums you want to use?
  • What format will appeal to the audience while still supporting my message?
It may seem like these are things that you should already know intuitively, but when you actually sit down and write these answers out you will find new and creative ways to reach your audience. Hopefully, of course, those ways will support your message and be well received by your target audience. By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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