Whenever you are speaking to someone it helps to think about them first. What do they know? What do they NOT know? Tracey Madigan understands why it’s so important to understand your audience.
“Never go into an interview without knowing exactly who the audience is,” she says. Your read of the group you’re speaking to will both shape your message and keep you on track.
“If you’re a small business owner and you’re preparing for an interview on NPR’s Marketplace,” says Madigan, “you’re speaking to a business-interested, but not necessarily business-saturated audience. “So don’t say ROI, say something like ‘how much value you are getting out of the money you’ve put into the project’”.
But when you’re addressing people who do speak your industry’s language you can go full acronym mode and beyond. Then, being more specific and using terms of art can bring your listeners closer and give them confidence that you know what you’re about. Insider terms demonstrate that you’re all in the same club. “If you’re asked to do an interview on let’s say – Bloomberg Business News – you can tweak your content to be a little more specific with numbers. And if it’s a podcast, then you can get down in the behind-the-scenes weeds, she says. “You can talk about strategy, you can describe the debate around why certain decisions were made.”
"Dial down the details when your audience doesn't know a lot," Madigan says, "and dial them up when they do."