Writing Tip: Know Your Audience
If you have to handle business writing tasks as part of your job you likely worry about all sorts of grammar and proofreading rules. You may find yourself getting paranoid about punctuation and obsessing over typos that might somehow slip through. And while all of these are indeed important, there is one issue that should be at the top of your priority list: you must know your audience.
This is critical because your specific audience will in many ways dictate how you write. It’s not enough just to know who your audience is, but you must also know as much as possible about them. As this article says, you should consider whether they are internal or external—and if they are internal, are they at your level, above or below?
This basic information will help you decide what sort of language to use, and whether you can adopt a more casual tone or if you need to stick with a formal approach.
However, ideally you should try to find out even more about your audience. Dig around to find out about their concerns, interests and preference, especially as they relate to the topic of your message. This can not only guide you as to the content of the message, it can even help you decide the best method of delivery. For example, a tech savvy group would welcome email communications, whereas another group may prefer hard copy via snail mail or interoffice delivery.
How do you tailor messages based on audience? Share tips in the comments.
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