When you are asked to speak before an audience, to deliver an article, to produce a guest blog post, or to write a book, be sure you deliver what your audience — and the person or group who hires you or requests your services — expects. This requires knowing your audience.
I attended a writer’s group meeting tonight where the speaker, who, among other things, is an expert on writing books quickly, spent the whole time speaking about non-verbal communication. While this is an interesting topic — even useful for speakers (and all aspiring writers must also become speakers), it wasn’t what most of the audience came to hear. His speech wasn’t what they expected. Several of us got up and left part way through, sitting in the lobby and griping about the waste of time the meeting ended up being for us.
This speaker made a major error: He forgot to whom he was speaking. In other words, he didn’t pay attention to his audience and their interests. We were writers. We wanted to know about writing.
Mark Victor Hansen, one of the co-creators of the world-wide publishing phenomenon, the Chicken Soup for the Soul™ series and many other best-selling titles, says one of his top three tips for anyone writing a book includes knowing your target audience. “Knowing your target customer is crucial to the success of your book as a business. If you don’t know to whom you are writing, you will not know what to write, or how to market your book,” he says. (His other two tips are to find a mentor and to have a goal.)
When you know your target audience, you can deliver what they expect. Well…you can accomplish that goal if you keep their needs, interests and desires in mind rather than you own. Accomplishing this means achieving success as a speaker or an author.
In the case of the speaker at the writer’s club meeting, he didn’t do that; he had his own agenda.Be sure whenever you speak or write that your agenda isn’t different from the agenda of your audience. If it is, you’ll lose them…like the speaker lost me. That means readers who don’t finish reading your book or, worse yet, never purchase it.
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