Anyone who knows The Latimer Group knows that “Know Your Audience” has been one of our enduring themes since our founding thirteen years ago. We believe it is one of the fundamental rules of great communication. And the concept has lots of implications and manifestations.
Knowing your audience means, in its simplest form, understanding what will cause them to say “yes” or “no.” But it means much more than that. It means understanding what style of communication will be most effective. Should you be direct, or more tactful? Should you position an issue as a problem or an opportunity? Knowing your audience means understanding the reality of the organization the person works for as well. What is the state of their business? If they are publicly traded, what is the trend of the stock price? What are the news alerts about them saying? Are they hiring or firing, expanding or contracting?
Knowing your audience means understanding cultural implications of body language, tone of voice, eye contact, speaking style, etc. What are their cultural biases based on age, gender, race, or status? Will they understand your stories, anecdotes and colloquialisms? Should you eliminate them from your speech pattern entirely for this audience?
Knowing your audience means understanding the audience’s perspective, in as many ways and from as many angles as possible.
Is it always easy to learn about your audience? Absolutely not. Often it is quite hard. But the work is always well worth it. Because the more knowledge you have, the better you will be able to speak in ways that will resonate with your audience. The easier it will be for you to speak in their “language.”
I’m writing to you today from Paris, France, where I will be conducting workshops this week for our largest client. And the participants in the workshops will come from all over Europe and the Middle East. It will be a fascinating opportunity to work on communication skills and learn together about how to communicate more effectively and persuasively in the 21st century global environment.
I’ll update the blog a few more times this week, and let you know what we learn. But in the meantime, think hard about today’s main message. If you want to communicate well, get outside of your own perspective, and learn as much as you can about the person, people, or organization you are trying to persuade.
Have a great day.
At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at info@TheLatimerGroup.com