Transcript: Audience – What content do they need?


Welcome back to the fourth video in this understand your audience series, which is all part of designing a strategy so your communication hits the right target. So, so far, we've worked through three questions that we want to think about when we're understanding our audience deeply. And today's time for the fourth, which is all about the content that they need. Let me dig into that a bit more deeply here.

Now, there are three things that I particularly want you to consider. F

irstly, what does your audience already know about your idea?

Secondly, how deep is their subject knowledge?

And thirdly, what will persuade them to do what you want them to do?

And I've got three ways of thinking about that. I think it helps to break it down to think about past, present and future.

If we're looking at the past, do they have a technical history that offers insight into the way they might think about the issue that you're talking about? Now, very often when we're talking about leadership audiences and we're talking about technical areas, we have a decision maker who actually don't have the depth of technical insight, particularly around technology and data that you have when you're preparing your communication. Sometimes we get a really good surprise in that they do have that. But it is very helpful to understand where they've been in the past. So you know, how much education you need to deliver in your communication. On top of that, do they have preconceived ideas, based on past experience? Now, this could be that they've had exposure to your area before at a decision making level, and it had some good or some bad experiences. It could also be that they're going to make some assumptions about how to make a decision in your space that relates to the way they would decide in their core area, their core discipline. So understanding what that core discipline is, and broadly understanding the way decisions are made in that area can be very, very helpful.

In the middle here, present, what do they know about your current topic? What are their current drivers in general and in relation to your topic? Are they really driven by their strategic focus or financial focus, an operational focus? Risks, are they really risk averse? Has there been something going on lately in your area, either practically or politically, that makes them very nervous, that makes them very cautious. Are there personal or political risks in general, or issues, not necessarily risks, that could be motivated, actually, that motivate them in the current state?

And then step back and think about well, in terms of the future, how could the substance of your communication help or hinder them personally or professionally, in their area of responsibility in their division, in their own career, in the future. Have a think about those forward looking implications, particularly when you've got something large and substantial to consider.

So hopefully that frame of past, present and future overlaid with those three questions around what they already know about your idea, how deep this subject knowledge is, and what will persuade them to know think or do what you want them to, is a helpful way to think about your audience going forward.

So in terms of next steps for you, I want you to think about what messages to include and to avoid for current piece of communication you're preparing, based on your view of the audience's position right now. So, that's the fourth video in this series. One more to come. The fifth question we need to think about which is, what is