Know Your Audience or Else

2 min. read

Communication is art appreciation. 

How so, you ask? Communication and art have a lot in common.

The success of that connection is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t matter what the artist or communicator thinks – it is how the other person sees it.

Let’s say I’m really smart and know a lot about beer. (Full disclosure – neither is true). 

You’re responsible for getting a Rotary Club speaker and ask me to give a 20-minute speech about you guessed it, BEER.

I stand. I face the group. I talk about specific gravity, the hops harvest in Idaho in the era of Covid, legal technicalities, bottle cap composition, and a whole list of other technical stuff.

I ask the question, “how many of you know the difference between a shportly and a henway?”

They don’t understand anything, and that’s because I’m boring, arrogant, condescending, and missing the point.

What’s to appreciate? Where’s the connection?

I’m way better off passing around some samples and ask people to tell what they like and why.

It’s of little importance that the meeting is at 7:00am. 

The burden for understanding is on you as the speaker, not the audience – whether it’s one person or a hundred.

And one more thought:

When what you write in an email and what you say when presenting to a group on the same message don’t align in tone, emphasis, purpose, you’ve bewildered the audience.

The confusion alone can nullify your intent.

Preparation and getting feedback from a trusted resource are worth it.

That’s how you make communication count.

Check out the podcast episode:

Common Leadership Communication Mistakes: Episode 3 – Know Your Audience and Align Written with Verbal Communication

In this episode, we dive into the concepts shared in the post above … and specifically adding more care and intention to relationship building in your communication style.

Ladderburners, unite!

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For more on this topic and other common communication mistakes, listen to the Leadership Communication Podcast Series with Alan Patterson and Kelly Norton on Ladderburners Unite!, available wherever you listen to podcasts.