Knowing the audience is vital in business writing

Published: 07th October 2009
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For business writing to communicate effectively, it has to be addressed specifically to a chosen audience.

Some people do not realise this, and their approach to business writing is the same as for writing a casual email. The result is that they fail to communicate effectively.

When we talk to someone face-to-face, we know who we are talking to. We automatically adjust our speech to communicate our message.

When we talk, we make ourselves clear by using only words we know for sure our audience understands - words that may be unfamiliar to another audience.

But do you make the same adjustments when writing to different audiences?

For business writing and business letter writingit is important to get to know your audience before you write. Knowing the audience will make the process of writing easier because it simplifies the decisions you have to make. You will find yourself asking questions and making choices rather than following rules.

Each time you write you can more easily decide:

• How much information to include
• How long to make your text
• How subjective or objective you should be
• How formal or informal you should be

Before tackling any business writing task, there are three important questions to ask about your audience

1. What does my audience know and believe?

It's a mistake to assume that your readers already know the topic you are writing about. Fine-tune your writing so that you deliver your message without confusing your readers.

If you mean to say one thing and your audience picks up another, your writing has failed.

2. What language and tone will my audience respond to?

If you're writing to an audience of CEOs and vice presidents, a more formal tone may need to be adopted. Similarly, if you know you are writing for teenagers, you'll use words to connect with them just as you do when you meet teenagers face-to-face.

3. Is my audience likely to agree or disagree with my point of view?

The answer to this question will affect the language you select, the amount of proof you offer, and the tone you use.

An editorial for a local paper on the importance of family values, for example, is less likely to encounter resistance from the audience than an editorial on legalising drugs.

But remember: Sometimes it will be impossible to choose a specific audience.

So stay focused on making your writing clear. That's the best way to ensure you get your message across - regardless of who you are writing to.

Don't ever just assume your audience is a stuffy authoritarian who will be impressed by big words and long sentences.

Most people know good, clear writing when they see it. And most people can distinguish between solid content and inflated trivia.

For business writing to have the affect you want it to have, thinking about your audience is an essential first step.

Action Words is premium business writing company in Melbourne. Action words not only offers business writing and letter writing, but also business writing courses and SEO copy. Written and distributed by Shout search engine optimisation.

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