Six Steps to Success: Step 2- Know Your Audience

Six Steps to Success: Step 2- Know Your Audience
October 10, 2008

Now that you have a clear objective for this communication it is time to turn our attention to the audience. I am certain that one of the first things you know about a communication is who your intended audience is. However, I would suspect that we do not always really KNOW the audience, nor do we take the time to think about them with respect to this communication.

There are a couple of key elements for you to consider about your audience as you begin to develop this communication and presentation. Generally speaking, you want to take a moment to ask yourself two questions about the audience: Who are they? AND; What are the likely to do? More specifically - the following questions need to be answered to help you develop a presentation that will have the most impact.

1. Does the audience know anything about the topic to be covered?
2. What is the audience's behavior history with respect to communications received from you or your group?
3. What is a reasonable amount of time that you can expect they will dedicate to reviewing this communication?
4. Are there significant subgroups in the audience who behave differently and therefore should receive an alternate version of the communication?

Let's look a little more closely.

1. If your audience had varying knowledge of the topic then you may consider separate communications. This means more work for you, but it also means better viewing numbers and the appreciation of an audience that feels like their time has not been wasted. This increases the participation level form the audience the next time you communicate to them.
2. Does the audience have time on weekends? Do they like podcasts? Or mobile devices? Do they usually come to the intranet for their content or do you have to push content to them via email. Understanding who they are and how they best receive content will help you get it to them.
3. Everyone is busy, but is the audience in a busy period or are they a mobile group. You may consider how much flexible time they have when creating your content. Don't send a 30 minute presentation to people who have only 10 minutes because you will not be happy with your results.
4. I shared one example above but there are others. Take the time to look at how many segments of your audience you may have.

The mantra to remember is this: Send the right communication to the right audience at the right time. If you do, then you will be pleased with the results.