Do we know our audience?

07 Oct

If possible, we must slake our paucity of compassion for the illiteracy and ignorance of the common man; we must lend ourselves to encouragement and assistance to his need, lest he be bound to that blight for perpetuity.   Me


noun \kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkā-shən\

: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else          

(US Sniper team Radio): tank convoy is currently stationary at the intersection, looks like it’s preparing to move with BTRs. Break. Command, requesting air support, recommend AGM loaded UAVs to neutralize convoy. Over

“Breaking it down Barney-style”

Refers to the kid show “Barney and Friends.” When something is broken down “Barney-style,” it’s being explained as if to a child.  Read more:

Do we know our audience?  Do we communicate with our audience or expect our audience to already understand what we are attempting to communicate?
How many times have we provided instructions to someone at work, or even a client only to find out later that the message was not clearly received?  Knowing your audience makes considerable difference.  If you are an electrician, a carpenter or a plumber, you will most likely explain the job to the average client as though you were speaking to a child to enhance their understanding ensuring less questioning during, and less hassle at the end of the job.  Now, if your client, in their younger days, was a general contractor, you will be able to speak more in terms of the job and the message will be received with little or no problem.  (Chances are, they’ll instruct you some, too.)
When writing, we don’t have the pleasure of immediate interaction so anticipating our diverse audience comprehension is important to the success of our communication.  If we write to teach, our audience is not expected to already know our subject.  If writing to others in our field of expertise but communicating changes in procedure or a new idea, we can expect that our words and ideas will be mostly understood.  If we are in an advanced field of expertise and our audience is close to or on our same level, we also want to be careful not to bore them out of their skulls by dumbing down our subject matter to reach an audience that doesn’t exist.
When telling a story, writing for entertainment purposes, the genre will often determine our audience.  Science fiction of all types, romance, horror, etc., will attract it’s respective following.  However, we reduce our audience when we decide that the language level must be highly complex based on our education level alone.  The word, ebullient may be a great word to describe champagne but may also distract the reader from an otherwise smooth running story if they have to stop reading to look up the word.  Too many of those words and the reader will discard the story for one easier to follow.
It is not going to hurt our audience one bit to increase their vocabulary–it certainly didn’t hurt me to discover the word ebullient but I’m willing to look it up without being completely distracted.  After reviewing the dictionary, I re-read the paragraph with enlightened understanding of what the writer was saying about the situation.

Know Your Readers

‘Literacy and the reading habits are of major importance in communicating with your audience. A document may be “plain” for one set of readers and not for others. Writers often wrongly assume that their audience is of the same class of readers.They are often surprised to learn that very large numbers of readers cannot read what they have written.’  Plain Language At Work Newsletter

 [According to: The Brain Lady Blog Psychology and Brain Science, Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D.

100 Things You Should Know About People: #54 — The Average Reading Level In the USA Is Grade 8   

This web page has a reading level of Grade 12 and a reading ease score of 40. Americans average a reading level of Grade 8, so 12 is harder than the average American can read. For the reading ease score, higher is better. Comic books are at 90, and legal documents are often 10 and under.]

Know Yourself

Who are you and what are you trying to say?  In order for the audience to know you and your subject, just say it as you would normally say it.  Be yourself, unless you’re an ass–then be less of yourself.  😉  Not everyone is an intercoursing idiot but nor does most everyone lack understanding of language (see what I mean–more than one way to say the same thing).  Know what you want or need to say and say it in a way that can be understood by as many as you can reach.

So, does our personal lack of compassion for people who don’t have the same understanding or education get in the way of us reaching others?  Only each individual can answer that question for themselves.

Just thinking out loud…

Jay 🙂


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2 responses to “Do we know our audience?

  1. Opinionated Man

    March 18, 2015 at 22:52

    I am sooooo glad I finished the 7th grade so I could read this post!!! 😉 lmao

    Liked by 1 person


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