Adapting to Your Audience

Developing Audience Awareness

When we talk to someone face-to-face, we always know just who we're talking to. We automatically adjust our speech to be sure we communicate our message. For instance, when we talk to three-year olds, we shorten sentences and use simpler words. When we talk to college professors, we use longer sentences and more formal language.

In short, we change what we say because we know our audience.

Interestingly, many writers don’t make the same adjustments when they write to different audiences, usually because they don’t take the time to think about who will be reading what they write. But to be sure that we communicate clearly in writing, we need to adjust our message--how we say it and what information we include--by recognizing that different readers can best understand different messages.

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