Sept. 4: Audience

This week’s theme: Targeting Audiences through Communications.

The goal of this week’s readings and activities is to get you thinking about how different communication styles, tools, and strategies are needed to interact with different audiences. We all know this, intuitively, to be true but let’s take some time to think about the audiences we may encounter through our work as MEM students and environmental professionals.

First, let’s take a look at what it means to analyze and understand our audience. This article is a useful introduction.

Of course, we usually don’t have one neatly defined audience to receive our message. This module from the Conference Board of Canada gives a nice overview of the different sectors of an audience. Highlight a few tips that you find useful in this reading, perhaps keeping in mind a particular presentation you’ve done in the past or your upcoming MP proposal presentation… yikes!

Messages are crafted with audience(s) in mind and always have a purpose. Check out these ads, collated by the Daily Green. Why do you think these would be particularly effective? Are there any that would be ineffective with certain audiences? Why?

We all are not destined to become graphic designers or advertisers but there are several key aspects of developing good messages that are useful in any situation. The Podesta Group has put together a succinct overview of these.

Thinking about targeting messages to audiences sounds reasonable in theory but let’s put it into practice. In class (September 4), you will work with your colleagues  on how to address a wide range of audiences. Come ready to think creatively about messaging, strategically about audience, and expansively about how this process may or may not differ in non-profit, government, and corporate environments.

Finally, during our sessions, you will have the opportunity to serve as a facilitator for your team meeting. To prepare you for that role, take a look at these tips from the Happiness Project and these from MindTools. By the way, the MindTools site has lots of Communication Tips, which you may find useful later in this course or in other professional situations.

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