COM0014 Blog #3: Know Who You Are Talking To

When we talk to someone face-to-face, we know just who we are talking to. We automatically adjust our speech to be sure we are communicating our message. Many writers don’t make those 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. To be sure that we communicate clearly in writing, we need to adjust our message–how we say our message and what information we include – by recognizing that different readers can best understand different messages.

At Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley, overall we have a diverse audience or student body, including a somewhat broad range in cultures, genders, income levels, education levels and lifestyles. The best way to approach your communication method is to break it down to your program audience.

Program Audience Case Study

Ex. #1 – Bachelor of Science in Nursing – we know that the audience is:

  • predominantly female
  • more cultural diversity
  • most students are under 25
  • majority not residents of Renfrew County
  • come from a house hold with a mid-high level income

Ex. #2 – Motive Power Technician – we know that the audience is:

  • predominantly male
  • very little cultural diversity
  • ages range from 17 – 35
  • most from Renfrew County
  • lower educational level
  • low-mid income families

As we know the demographics and psychographics for each program audience we can effectively communicate with these groups by customizing the message and delivery of that message to our targeted audiences.

I believe we do an effective job communicating with our student audience but there is always room for improvement, which is why we have started to hold more student focus group – as we all know, who knows our audience better than our audience.

Have you had the chance to experience post-secondary communication strategies and methods? In your opinion, what worked and what didn’t?