What are they talking about?

Sunday, May 12, 2019
As a public speaking instructor, I understand the importance of knowing an audience, which becomes apparent when my students use words or phrases I don't understand, like "throwing shade," "spill the tea," or "take the L." Viral videos featuring Gen-X slang remind me that even though a particular message isn't clear to me, it can still work to deliver meaning to the communicator's target audience.

Recently, I viewed several resumes belonging to successful corporate professionals. After analyzing the language they used to describe themselves, I wondered what had made their resumes stand out to employers.

Under the "Skills" heading of one resume, a job-seeker listed about 10-12 lines of strategies (with bullet points) he used to achieve his vocational objectives. I did not understand any of it. Full of industry jargon, he was clearly intending to send a specific message to targeted employers in his field. I was not the intended audience.

Another woman dreamed of working as a content creator on a popular social media platform, and had just hired on with her ideal company. Her resume was full of statistics, analytics, and figures that meant nothing to me, but had clearly impressed the hiring team.

Although I didn't understand most of the messages mentioned here, they were effective because they targeted their audiences. And for those of you who don't know the meanings of the Gen-X phrases listed above, please google the Urban Dictionary. That's what I had to do.

Mary Horner may not always be your target audience, but she can ensure your message is delivered clearly. She works as an educator, freelance writer, and editor in St. Louis.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--What a great post about audience. Keeping in mind the prospective reader, the kind of people who will be in the auditorium--that's all helpful when we craft our story, our speech.

Margo Dill said...

I agree with Sioux. I was just thinking how important it is to think about your audience. I once heard someone say that the difference between YA and an adult novel with a teen main character is not the main characters' ages, but the way the author writes for the audience. SO interesting. :)

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top