Report on your learning about audience centeredness; the boss wants to know how you are progressing because she personally advocated for this professional training experience for you and the value you see benefiting the company.

2 brief readings on Audience Centerdness is attached.  Please read it to understand what the assignment is asking.

Task:  You are to write a 200 word memo to your boss in memo format .  (Email does not mean unprofessional and overly casual.)

Task Definitive:  Detail on an aspect(s) of the unit that personally affected you.  It is not an academic regurgitation!  It is a reflection.  The question you are answering is ‘what has changed your thinking and how will you use it” based on your readings for the week on audience centeredness.


Additionally, while this work is part of your participation grade, it is also a vehicle for me to give you writing feedback in order for you to learn to write better.    It is to be attractive on the page as well.  Business writing is about content AND delivery decisions.  Again, make it attractive.  Be sure you have a minimum of three paragraphs.  A well thought out introduction, a body with content information and a conclusion.


Questions to consider: We learned about what is audience centeredness. Reflect on…how does audience-centeredness affect communication strategies? What steps would you take to adapt you writing and speaking to your audience?  


Introduction includes: (1) purpose/thesis, (2) hook (attention getting statement which can also be the purpose/thesis statement), (3) scope (the preview of what you will talk about and perhaps (4) why (detail the why you are writing – could link to purpose).


Body is the content.  (Most students when they think of writing they focus on content.  That is a part of writing; it’s not the whole event.) – think about how what you have learned may apply to what you do in your role at Brunswick and the company as a whole (do not repeat the description of the terms, rather address how might the new skills benefit your role and the company?) Conclusion, in business, is mostly about goodwill.  Think of it as where to create the lasting impression.  In a memo format, it is most often a simple offer of further contact.  For example, ‘If you have additional comments or need further clarification, you may reach me at or at 555.123.4567.” (use your own good will statement to show your writing style!)


______________________________________________ Here is the email you received from your boss: Hi (YourName), Hope your trip is going well. How is the training going?  Given what you are learning, how will you apply this information and make your team contributions and your team leadership better? I look forward to your advancements in your team on the project.  In the meantime, enjoy Chicago. Sincerely, Ms. Elena Brunswick President Brunswick Business Company

* The above names are fictional

Date: February 13, 2009

To: Business Communications Student

From: Student 2

Subject: Between Me and You…Audience-Centered Is the Key

The purpose of this memorandum is to prepare you for Management 309 and the topic of audience-centeredness to prevent the initial shock I experienced.

From the Beginning

While 6 weeks already passed in Professor Dianne Garrett’s Management 309 class, I remember on day 1 she made a promise that audience-centeredness is mentioned in every class. So far, she’s kept her promise. When she first mentioned how important it was, I thought she was just being a typical teacher, but I am beginning to understand its importance. Here are 7 important topics about audience-centeredness that I have learned so far.

1. Analyze the Audience – Right message to the right audience spells success.

2. Get to the Point – People pay attention to interesting subjects.

3. Be Picasso with Words – Audiences crave pictures.

4. Shorter is Better – Quality beats quantity.

5. Eliminate Jargon – People listen to what they understand.

6. Do the Work – Audiences respond when everything is done for them.

7. Control is yours – How will you walk the little girl across the street?

Analyze the Audience – Right message to the right audience spells success.

“Zeroing in on the right audience with the right message is frequently a formula for success…take the time to analyze your audience formally and to revise your message with your analysis in mind.” (Locker & Kienzler, 51) Understand what matters most to the audience and focus on that. Establishing common ground with your audience can be the difference between

“Megan your hired” and looking for a different job.

Get to the Point – People pay attention to interesting subjects.

One important lesson Professor Garrett explained is the audience responds better when they know what you are talking about. “Your audience craves the meaning behind your ideas before learning about the details. According to Medina, ‘This comes directly from our evolutionary history. We didn’t care about the number of vertical lines in the teeth of the saber-toothed tiger. We cared about whether it was going to clamp down on our thigh. We were more interested in the meaning of the mouth than the details’.” (Gallo, 2008) Immediately state what your purpose is and then expound on the details.

Be Picasso with Words – Audiences crave pictures.

Readers love to see a page that appears beautiful. Vary sentence lengths to give different feels to the reader. Use vibrant words to dazzle the reader with the English language. Just remember, people pay attention to things that appear attractive.

Shorter is Better – Quality beats quantity.

Audience’s want rich context when they read. “Unnecessary words increase writing time, bore you reader, and make your meaning more difficult to follow.” (Locker & Kienzler, 119) Strive to say 4 words when 4 are all you need.

Eliminate Jargon – People listen to what they understand.

Use common language with you and your audience so they easily understand you. “Most employees, customers, and investors hate confusing messages. They’ve been burned by dot-com marketing hype, and they’re skeptical of anything they can’t understand quickly and easily.” (Gallo, 2005) Jargon can seem like a foreign language when it isn’t familiar to the audience.

Do the Work – Audiences respond when everything is done for them.

Your requests will be approved more often when the audience is required to do nothing. Give them all the information they need to make an educated decision, as well as contact information to reach you.

Control is yours – How will you walk the little girl across the street?

In class, your given the example of writing is like walking a little girl across the street. You are in control to lead that little girl wherever you want to take her to get her from here to there. It is the same in writing. You have the choice of how to present to the audience the topics you choose to discuss. You can either directly approach each topic and run across the street, or indirectly push towards each topic as you and the little girl walk across.

Audience matters

When you’re in the process of writing a paper, it’s easy to forget that you are actually writing to someone. Whether you’ve thought about it consciously or not, you always write to an audience: sometimes your audience is a very generalized group of readers, sometimes you know the individuals who compose the audience, and sometimes you write for yourself. Keeping your audience in mind while you write can help you make good decisions about what material to include, how to organize your ideas, and how best to support your argument.

To illustrate the impact of audience, imagine you’re writing a letter to your grandmother to tell her about your first month of college. What details and stories might you include? What might you leave out? Now imagine that you’re writing on the same topic but your audience is your best friend. Unless you have an extremely cool grandma to whom you’re very close, it’s likely that your two letters would look quite different in terms of content, structure, and even tone.

Isn’t my instructor my audience?

Yes, your instructor or TA is probably the actual audience for your paper. Your instructors read and grade your essays, and you want to keep their needs and perspectives in mind when you write. However, when you write an essay with only your instructor in mind, you might not say as much as you should or say it as clearly as you should, because you assume that the person grading it knows more than you do and will fill in the gaps. This leaves it up to the instructor to decide what you are really saying, and she might decide differently than you expect. For example, she might decide that those gaps show that you don’t know and understand the material. Remember that time when you said to yourself, “I don’t have to explain communism; my instructor knows more about that than I do” and got back a paper that said something like “Shows no understanding of communism”? That’s an example of what can go awry when you think of your instructor as your only audience.

Thinking about your audience differently can improve your writing, especially in terms of how clearly you express your argument. The clearer your points are, the more likely you are to have a strong essay. Your instructor will say, “He really understands communism—he’s able to explain it simply and clearly!” By treating your instructor as an intelligent but uninformed audience, you end up addressing her more effectively.

How do I identify my audience and what they want from me?

Before you even begin the process of writing, take some time to consider who your audience is and what they want from you. Use the following questions to help you identify your audience and what you can do to address their wants and needs.

· Who is your audience?

· Might you have more than one audience? If so, how many audiences do you have? List them.

· Does your assignment itself give any clues about your audience?

· What does your audience need? What do they want? What do they value?

· What is most important to them?

· What are they least likely to care about?

· What kind of organization would best help your audience understand and appreciate your?

· What do you have to say (or what are you doing in your research) that might surprise your audience?

· What do you want your audience to think, learn, or assume about you? What impression do you want your writing or your research to convey?

How much should I explain?

This is the hard part. As we said earlier, you want to show your instructor that you know the material. But different assignments call for varying degrees of information. Different fields also have different expectations. The best place to start figuring out how much you should say about each part of your paper is in a careful reading of the assignment. The assignment may specify an audience for your paper; sometimes the instructor will ask you to imagine that you are writing to your congressperson, for a professional journal, to a group of specialists in a particular field, or for a group of your peers. If the assignment doesn’t specify an audience, you may find it most useful to imagine your classmates reading the paper, rather than your instructor.

Now, knowing your imaginary audience, what other clues can you get from the assignment? If the assignment asks you to summarize something that you have read, then your reader wants you to include more examples from the text than if the assignment asks you to interpret the passage. Most assignments in college focus on argument rather than the repetition of learned information, so your reader probably doesn’t want a lengthy, detailed, point-by-point summary of your reading (book reports in some classes and argument reconstructions in philosophy classes are big exceptions to this rule). If your assignment asks you to interpret or analyze the text (or an event or idea), then you want to make sure that your explanation of the material is focused and not so detailed that you end up spending more time on examples than on your analysis.

Once you have a draft, try your level of explanation out on a friend, a classmate, or a Writing Center tutor. Get the person to read your rough draft, and then ask her to talk to you about what she did and didn’t understand. (Now is not the time to talk about proofreading stuff, so make sure she ignores those issues for the time being). You will likely get one of the following responses or a combination of them:

· If your listener/reader has tons of questions about what you are saying, then you probably need to explain more. Let’s say you are writing a paper on piranhas, and your reader says, “What’s a piranha? Why do I need to know about them? How would I identify one?” Those are vital questions that you clearly need to answer in your paper. You need more detail and elaboration.

· If your reader seems confused, you probably need to explain more clearly. So if he says, “Are there piranhas in the lakes around here?” you may not need to give more examples, but rather focus on making sure your examples and points are clear.

· If your reader looks bored and can repeat back to you more details than she needs to know to get your point, you probably explained too much. Excessive detail can also be confusing, because it can bog the reader down and keep her from focusing on your main points. You want your reader to say, “So it seems like your paper is saying that piranhas are misunderstood creatures that are essential to South American ecosystems,” not, “Uh…piranhas are important?” or, “Well, I know you said piranhas don’t usually attack people, and they’re usually around 10 inches long, and some people keep them in aquariums as pets, and dolphins are one of their predators, and…a bunch of other stuff, I guess?”

Sometimes it’s not the amount of explanation that matters, but the word choice and tone you adopt. Your word choice and tone need to match your audience’s expectations. For example, imagine you are researching piranhas; you find an article in National Geographic and another one in an academic journal for scientists. How would you expect the two articles to sound? National Geographic is written for a popular audience; you might expect it to have sentences like “The piranha generally lives in shallow rivers and streams in South America.” The scientific journal, on the other hand, might use much more technical language, because it’s written for an audience of specialists. A sentence like “Serrasalmus piraya lives in fresh and brackish intercoastal and proto-arboreal sub-tropical regions between the 45th and 38th parallels” might not be out of place in the journal.

Generally, you want your reader to know enough material to understand the points you are making. It’s like the old forest/trees metaphor. If you give the reader nothing but trees, she won’t see the forest (your thesis, the reason for your paper). If you give her a big forest and no trees, she won’t know how you got to the forest (she might say, “Your point is fine, but you haven’t proven it to me”). You want the reader to say, “Nice forest, and those trees really help me to see it.”

Reading your own drafts

Writers tend to read over their own papers pretty quickly, with the knowledge of what they are trying to argue already in their minds. Reading in this way can cause you to skip over gaps in your written argument because the gap-filler is in your head. A problem occurs when your reader falls into these gaps. Your reader wants you to make the necessary connections from one thought or sentence to the next. When you don’t, the reader can become confused or frustrated. Think about when you read something and you struggle to find the most important points or what the writer is trying to say. Isn’t that annoying? Doesn’t it make you want to quit reading and surf the web or call a friend?

Putting yourself in the reader’s position

Instead of reading your draft as if you wrote it and know what you meant, try reading it as if you have no previous knowledge of the material. Have you explained enough? Are the connections clear? This can be hard to do at first. Consider using one of the following strategies:

· Take a break from your work—go work out, take a nap, take a day off. This is why the Writing Center and your instructors encourage you to start writing more than a day before the paper is due. If you write the paper the night before it’s due, you make it almost impossible to read the paper with a fresh eye.

· Try outlining after writing—after you have a draft, look at each paragraph separately. Write down the main point for each paragraph on a separate sheet of paper, in the order you have put them. Then look at your “outline”—does it reflect what you meant to say, in a logical order? Are some paragraphs hard to reduce to one point? Why? This technique will help you find places where you may have confused your reader by straying from your original plan for the paper.

· Read the paper aloud—we do this all the time at the Writing Center, and once you get used to it, you’ll see that it helps you slow down and really consider how your reader experiences your text. It will also help you catch a lot of sentence-level errors, such as misspellings and missing words, which can make it difficult for your reader to focus on your argument.

These techniques can help you read your paper in the same way your reader will and make revisions that help your reader understand your argument. Then, when your instructor finally reads your finished draft, he or she won’t have to fill in any gaps. The more work you do, the less work your audience will have to do—and the more likely it is that your instructor will follow and understand your argument.

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