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Can't you read the sign?

Dogs can’t read

While walking my dog, Molly, we came across the above sign. Molly stood staring at the gate, wanting to get into the baseball diamond. But here’s the thing: dogs can’t read. This incident prompted a couple of questions: Do you really know your audience? Are you targeting your audience?

Know your audience

Obviously, the sign was posted for dog owners rather than the dogs themselves, but in reality it was Molly who wandered over to the gate on her own and even bumped it a couple times indicating her desire to enter. So you have your message out there, but do you really know your audience? While you may be targeting your audience with industry-specific language and scientific terms and acronyms, you might also be excluding other potential viewers and, ultimately, clients. Before you send your message out to your current colleagues and faculty, take a step back and think about any further audiences that may be interested in your work. For example, not only may your paper on treatment for schizophrenia be of interest to psychologists and physicians, but it may prove valuable for social workers, case workers, patients, and pharmacists. If writing a piece for one audience wouldn’t work for another, consider writing separate pieces and providing different online and printed tools to meet your audiences at their level.

Effective communication is the key

The age-old adage that communication is key to any relationship also holds true in the business world. If your message is out there but it is not clear, accessible, or understood by those receiving it, there will either be a breakdown in relationship or the relationship will be snuffed out before it has even begun. Get to know your clientele and research your potential audience. Just as posting a sign telling dogs not to enter the park will not keep them out, producing text heavy with scientific information will not relate to the average lay person. Equally, creating a book on how to cope with vision loss will not work unless it is in Brail, large print or some other accessible form. Instead of limiting yourself to one audience, produce various versions of your message and in several media to ensure you are not excluding anyone.

Will your clients see the sign? Make sure they do by hiring an editor today!