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Chapter 20. In Style > Audience: People Who Need People - Pg. 203

In Style 203 · The primary audience :The reader who decides to accept or reject your message. (That's Joe in accounting.) · The secondary audience :People in the company who may be asked to comment on your mes- sage or implement it after it's been approved. (That could be the rest of Joe's staff.) · The gatekeeper :The person who has the power to stop your message. The gatekeeper can be your immediate supervisor or someone higher up in the organization. · The watchdog audience :People in the organization who don't have the power to stop your message but have political or economic power over its completion. Your future in the company may depend on what the watchdog audience decides. (That could be Joe's counterpart in pro- duction or manufacturing.) I Share Your Pain The most important weapon in your arsenal of audience analysis is your ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Fortunately, I'm talking figuratively rather than literally because some of those shoes can be really stinky. To do an effective audience analysis, you need empathy, the ability to see things from someone else's point of view. You don't have to agree with the person at all; rather, you have to understand that the person's point of view is valid from his or her framework. This will color his or her perception of your message. We tend to think that most people are like us. Flash--they're not. They may look the same, dress the same, and even talk the same, but they all think differently. Otherwise, how could we explain divorce, spandex, and salad in a bag?