When creating a message — whether written, verbal, or electronic — you as the messenger should keep your receiver in mind when choosing your words.
Questions of who and how many are as important as the message itself when it comes to effective communication. Knowing the receiver and keeping in mind whether it is an individual or a group are critical to a successful message.
Depending on the person or persons receiving the message, its intent will be different. When talking to friends, for example, one’s language will be less formal than during a presentation at a seminar, since the messenger’s goal is the exchange of ideas over the impression, exposition, or persuasion of a particular idea. Similarly, a presentation to students might be structured to stimulate participation and overall understanding, while a seminar lecture to one’s professional peers may aim to form a good impression and highlight current topics in your field. While certain media may be embraced by students, the same may not be true of older listeners.
So again, not only will your audience — whether of one or 100 — change the information and intent be different, but this group will also determine your presentation style. Furthermore, an effective messenger can “read” the receiver and adjust his communications accordingly. Looks of confusion, yawning, restlessness, empty eyes, and side conversations are all signs that the message is not reaching the receiver. Change your tone, elaborate on or skip entirely an aspect of the topic, add jokes, be more serious, be more detailed, or repeat sentences. In short, be ready and able to adjust your flow or change your angle.
In the pursuit of effective communication, one needs to consider many factors. The most expertly crafted message will not affect its recipient if the messenger does not consider that person. Tailor your speech and writing to those listening and reading, and you will achieve great things.