When writers do take the time to understand their audience, the final product informs, persuades and engages with great impact.
All business writers should take the time to examine who exactly they are writing to in order to be effective. This is especially true when writing web copy, reports, training materials, speeches and presentations. Consider these simple steps to understand your audiences better — and get the results you want out of your writing:
1. Articulate the audience’s major characteristics
Write down this group’s general perspective and responsibilities. If you are writing a speech to your business’ human resources team, clearly explain how their work fits in with the speech’s topic and why it is valued. Also, consider their basic assumptions that they have that will influence how they read your writing. For example, if you are writing a brochure to promote employee engagement and development, you’ll want to directly address – and overturn – the assumption that lateral career moves are not helpful for progression.
2. Articulate the central things that the audience wants
What does the audience hope to receive from the project? How would the project best help them achieve their long-term goals? Seriously consider how your writing can help them achieve something they want. For example if you are writing a presentation that details how the business can sell more effectively to Asian markets, clearly explain why this group benefits from this, and how it will help them reach their larger goal of success.
When you take the time to consider these questions, you’ll learn more about your audience and write to them more effectively. You’ll prevent confusion and unclear messages, while also making a direct impact. In the end, you’ll get the biggest “bang” out of your hard work.