The Importance of Knowing Your Audience


When writing or speaking it’s important to know your audience. Even though this concept was literally pounded in my head for years, I blew it once and it’s a lesson I’ll never forget. Here’s what happened:

I was speaking for a full day at a retailing training conference that focused on independently owned gift stores. Fully ¼ of my presentation covered customer engagement and marketing. I assumed (I momentarily forgot what happens when we assume) that most of the assembled group had the technological capability to track customers by name—big mistake.

At the break, one of the retailers came up to me and said, “We appreciate all you are trying to teach us, but this is rural Ohio, not the big city. Most of us here are Mennonites and we don’t use any kind of technology.”

I swallowed hard, changed my presentation, and humbly learned a difficult lesson.

When writers and speakers take responsibility for better understanding their audience they gain credibility and loyalty. One nationally known public speaker made it a point to walk in the crowd before she spoke so she could gain a feel of what was on their minds and get to know their locality. Then, as she spoke, she could sprinkle part of what she learned into her presentation. The time she spent doing this made an instant connection with her audience. They felt she was one of them.

We must keep in mind that audience-focused writers and speakers become very good at listening to the voice of the people to whom they want to communicate. They truly want to know what their reader or audience values. They want to know what’s on their minds and hearts. Why? Because they want to speak to it—if it’s important to the audience or reader, it needs to be important to the speaker or writer.

By truly knowing your reader and your audience, finding out what’s important to them and tapping into their perceptions, you can be incredibly believable, trusted and successful.

What are some ways you tap into your reader? Your audience?


One Response to “The Importance of Knowing Your Audience”

  1. […] Who is your target audience? Who are you aiming to reach? You need to define your target audience. How you choose to do this is entirely up to you. But if you don’t know where to start, here are a few tips on how you can define your target audience. […]

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