The same way we seek to understand the average qualities of a group is the same logic we use to make sure our message cuts through to the right people. Whether we are creating a presentation or executing a marketing strategy, understanding these basic concepts can help us focus and succeed.
Imagine a room full of people. A presenter, whose goal is to help people save more money, says, “if you just don’t buy that fancy coffee in the morning, you could save $5 a day, $35 a week, $150 a month, $1,825 a year – think about how that adds up!”
Now, think about the room full of people. Think about who hears this message and says “hmm, I could try that,” who hears this message and says, “I don’t drink coffee, but I do buy lunch every day,” and who says, “I am the god of frugality, your suggestions are laughable.” There are even more variations, but the point is clear: neither the message nor the example applies to everyone.
What the presenter does next is really important. If the purpose of the message is to create change within one particular sub-group, the next segment has to go deeper with them and lose the rest of the audience. Alternately, if the purpose of the message is to entertain or provoke the whole group, the presenter needs to zoom back out to regain a broader appeal.
Either way, before we use an example or give a call to action, we have to ask who the audience is and what the purpose is for. Something for everyone is often something for no one. If the audience and the message are broad, the examples and the call to action should include the next steps to drill down further. If the audience and the message are already narrow, the examples and calls to action should be very specific.
It’s hard work to hold an audience’s attention. Work smarter by understanding who they are, who we want to reach, and what the purpose of the communication ultimately is.