Keiser University

The Importance of Audience

Posted on July 12, 2014

By: Michael Record, PhD is the Associate Vice Chancellor of the Writing Program at Keiser University

You may remember your Composition teacher saying something about audience when you took your writing courses. Some students wonder if they’re supposed to be writing a movie script or a play when they hear it described this way, but composition teachers use the term audience to mean whoever will be reading your writing. The advice is to keep the audience in mind. This advice is spot on. One mistake that many beginning writers make is forgetting that writing is a meaningless task in and of itself; if no one ever reads it, it didn’t matter much.

However, when you picture in your mind the person who will be reading your message and think about what his or her needs are, you’re much more likely to meet those needs and subsequently come up with a successful piece of writing. Are you writing a memo, a business letter, a self-appraisal for your annual review, a request for time off, a note praising a colleague, or a suggestion for the suggestion box? All of these examples have slightly different audiences, but keeping the needs of that audience in mind is the trick to catering that message to the self-interest of that reader, maximizing your chances that the message will not only be clear, but also will resonate with the reader.

If you took or are taking any upper-level writing classes at Keiser, you may remember hearing the professor speak about the “you attitude.” The you attitude is a way some textbooks have focused students’ attention on the importance of catering a message to the needs of the intended audience. One example of the you attitude is the disappearance of the objective from resumes. Remember what resumes used to look like? They began with a canned message that began with the word “to,” and always continued on to the same overused, meaningless description of what the writer needs: “To obtain a satisfying position using my skills for communication and teamwork to accomplish blah blah blah…” The reason why employers prefer a summary of qualifications on the modern resume where the objective used to appear is because of the you attitude.

The objective is about you and what you need to accomplish to feed your family. The summary of qualifications is about the employer, and the hirer’s needs. That is the appropriate focus for that kind of document. The you attitude can also be used to preserve goodwill when delivering a negative message. Is it better to say, “You didn’t mail your payment” or “We have not received payment”? Both are bad news, but that slight shift in focus from the individual to the organization removes the accusatory sting from that situation.

You may notice that my focus in writing articles for the Keiser University web site is its readers. Who is likely to see the message, what do they want to know, and what kind of information is likely to help them? Those are questions I think about as I compose the message. You can’t satisfy all the needs of all the readers all the time, but this helpful writing strategy will maximize the chances that whatever writing task you’re doing will end in success.

Michael Record, PhD
Associate Vice Chancellor of the Writing Program

Comments

15

The Design program at Keiser University was filled with real world learning and hands on instruction… Based on the portfolio I created while a student at Keiser University, I landed a job in Graphic Design for a major online retailer immediately after graduation.

Ty Fitzgerald, Graphic Arts and Design Graduate

The year and a half I spent in the program better prepared me for attaining a job in the field…As a hands-on learner, the project-centered teaching was perfect for me.

Jackson Tejada, Graphic Arts and Design Graduate

Keiser University has given me the opportunity to embrace a career change… It has opened the door for a timely graduation and quick return to the work force…

Dale Caverly, Occupational Therapy Assistant Graduate

Without the education I received at Keiser University, I would not be where I am today!

Meisha Ebanks, R.N., Nursing Graduate

I not only received an excellent education but also encouragement and training that built my self-confidence every day.

Nidia Barrios, Medical Assisting Graduate

I realize the amount of knowledge I gained and feel that the educational experiences have developed me in to a person who can move higher up the career ladder.

Carlos Ramirez Flores, BA in Accounting Graduate

Keiser University’s MBA program has renewed my mind, changed the way I think, and given me a new sense of purpose.  The professors transformed my attitude and behavior, gave me the self-confidence I was lacking, and restored my energy.

Connie Sue Centrella, MBA Graduate

It has been great attending and graduating from Keiser University.  Because of the small class sizes, I was able to build good relationships with classmates and professors.  The PA professors care very much about the progress and success of the students and have been great advisors every step of the way through the program.

Annelise Merriner, PA-C, MS in Physician Assistant Graduate

Attending Keiser University and getting my degree was the best decision I have ever made.  The small class sizes and personalized attention helped me get my degree quickly.  The hands-on experience and the education landed me a job at a neighboring law firm.

Dedrick Saxon, Criminal Justice Graduate

I chose Keiser because it had everything—small classes, caring professors, hands-on learning, and counselors that are really there for you.  I feel like I’m part of a family here, not just a number.

Natalie Dou, Histotechnology Graduate

After being denied for several promotions at my current employer, I decided that I needed to further my education.  Since graduating from Keiser with my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I have been promoted and I am able to obtain positions that weren’t available to me before.

Laurie Williams, BA in Business Administration Graduate

Keiser helped change my life by getting my education at the right school! I have been going to another school before, dropped out because I felt that I was not getting enough information that I need. When I found out about Keiser, I was pleased because the instructors were great.

Nadege Dor, Medical Assisting Graduate

My decision to attend Keiser University has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I chose to enroll in the Information Technology program… The one-class-a-month pace helped incredibly with my self-discipline.

Marla Hadley, Information Technology Graduate

The BA for Business Administration at Keiser has to be one of the best in the nation. Keiser takes the basics that are taught at the Associates level and uses them to strengthen your skills and knowledge.

Vivian R. Howard, BA in Business Administration Graduate

I found that Keiser University’s Nuclear Medicine program of advanced studies and small class size was a perfect fit. I never came across a faculty member who wasn’t truly interested.

Gustavo Gonzalez, Nuclear Medicine Technology Graduate