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Chapter 7. Structuring Your Presentation > Tip 34 Plan to Speak to Listeners on...

Tip 34 Plan to Speak to Listeners on their Terms

Suppose you’re an area manager for a high-tech wireless communication company. One day your five-year-old niece asks you, “Aunt Kathleen, what do you do at work?” You say something like, “Well, Natalie, I talk to people all day long to help them make phones! Like this one!” Good answer. Now suppose your boss wants a report on what you and your area have been up to lately. Would you give the same answer? Of course not—you would radically adjust your message to your new listener.

You can’t speak the same way to everybody, even if you’re describing the same thing. You need to adjust your messages to your listeners. Some professionals don’t always make this adjustment, so they give presentations that are very difficult to follow. These professionals may suffer from a common communication malady: the “specialist’s fallacy.”


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