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Module Two 2-1 Discussion: Knowing Your Audience 2-1 Discussion: Knowing Your Audience

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William Maxfeldt post response. Good afternoon everyone,

I hope that everyone is having a good week so far.

To communicate effectively with audiences, there are certain factors/elements that need to be considered for all communications.  This includes (Gerson & Gerson, 2016):

  • Recognizing the audience
  • Understanding what the reader does not know
  • What the reader needs to know
  • What must be stated to ensure the audience understands the point

That means to me that there is some effort needed for the author to understand who they are writing to, why they are writing to them, and what does the message need to entail to convey the point.  This means that other variables need to be considered such as (Gerson & Gerson, 2016):

  • Defining terms when necessary
  • Considering personality traits
  • Understanding issues of diversity
  • Multiculturalism factors
  • Avoiding bias language
  • Ensuring audience involvement

I selected an external audience to delve into for communicating for a business purpose, customers. 

  • Does this audience have technical expertise? If so, what is their level of expertise?

There are varying levels of technical expertise when working with customers. For the customers that I work with, there is a bit more technical expertise, and I would consider them a high-tech audience as they understand things such as APN’s, static IP’s, and IP passthrough.  However, going into a conversation or email without knowing much about the audience through email or communicating through an IM, I don’t want to take that their knowledge level for granted and probe into some questions to gauge their understanding and adjust my approach to a low-tech or lay audience approach as necessary.

  • How diverse is this audience? Note at least one common difference in the dynamics of this group.

For customers as a whole, the ones I work with at least, there is not a lot of diverse adjustment needed to communicate technical information.  However, there are differences in approaches to how the customer needs information and how they process the information.  One common difference is that some need visual queues (such as graphs, specialized reports, or how to guides) that need to be included within some of the communications that I have with them.  Others can run with an idea or concept and fill in the blanks by themselves.

 

  • Are there any language considerations that need to be made when communicating with this audience?

For customers as a whole, there absolutely could be language barriers that need to be considered.  Customers calling into a call center, for example, vary on technical skill level or English not being their first language.  Just before writing for this discussion board, I got off a Teams meeting with a client from Denmark trying to initiate an IoT install.  I needed a translator for that exchange.  But what is interesting is that since the customer was from the high-tech audience category, he was able to understand where I wanted to go when working with a device and was able to navigate successfully without too much interpretation needed.  What I also found interesting, when working with this customer today, is that my communication changed to being straight forward and to the point and I tried to remove any colloquialisms or any references that only someone from the US may understand (such as football scores).

 

  • What are the audience’s expectations?

For customer expectations they are looking to get their questions answered and explained in a succinct manner to be able to understand and make a decision based off the information given. This means utilizing active listening skills and paying attention to specified needs when reading emails, chat, or IM’s.

  • Imagine that you are writing an email to a member of this audience. How would you go about crafting that communication? What would you include and exclude? What communications decisions would you make?

Again, for the customers that I interact with there is more technical information being relayed to the customer and awaiting a response to determine next steps on resolving their issue or implementing a new solution.  I would go about communicating with the customer by introducing myself and my role.  I then go into what I understand they are inquiring about an issue or solution needed.  I then provide the information about how to resolve an issue starting with the methodology I was looking to resolve the problem and asking them for their assistance to create the feeling of a team working on the problem together.  I would include an open-ended question that would entice them to want to respond to ensure that dialog continues and would exclude certain other things right off the bat such as pricing (if they are looking for a solution) or timeframes for implementation to ensure that we are engaging with the customer actively by creating a two-way dialog before giving them that information. 

  

References:

Gerson, S. J., & Gerson, S. M. (2016). Technical Communication (9th Edition). Pearson Education (US). https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9780134118277
Second Post response from Ankit Patel posted Oct 19, 2021 10:03 PM

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2-1 Discussion: Knowing Your Audience

 

         Understanding your audience is important in all types of communication, but when it comes to technical communication it is a bit more complex. In technical communication knowing your audience determines what information you present, how to present it, and knowing how to write it. Your audience is your intended reader or whom you are trying to communicate to.

         I work at Amazon fulfillment center and communication is key for running a smooth process. In everyday process we must communicate with many different departments using different methods such as radio, face to face, by phone or via group chats to make sure the business is running smooth. Some of the departments, such as the operations team we work with have little to no technical expertise. For example, if the robotics department has an equipment fault inside the robotics floor, that will create safety issues and they have to shut down that floor and fix it as soon as possible. The robotics department will have to communicate with the operations team to make sure that they are aware of the shutdown. While the robotics team knows the consequences of not fixing the problem, all the operation team cares about is making sure they do not lose money as a result of the shutdown.

         Diversity includes gender, race, ethnicity, age, religious, culture, sexual orientation, class, physical and mental characteristics and language (Gerson & Gerson, 2016). Diversity is good for business because it makes employees think the company values them and they feel more committed to the company. Amazon is a good company that values diversity. According to their website, there has been an increase of 30% from level 4 to level 7 employment of black employees a year over from 2020 (Beth Galetti, 2021). In the everyday environment we communicate with the operation team that is comprised of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds and different race and different gender. As we work with different operation departments, there are various teams that speak different languages apart from English. To make things simple, every department has at least one translator if someone does not understand what the team is trying to say.

         Amazon is large company with being a sole provider during the COVID-19 outbreak. While amazon has a million employees working for them, expectations can be high due to the volume of products being ordered from all around the world. In robotic department expectation are bit high because we are the backbone of the fulfillment center. We must meet the goal of pod gapping which is how long a robotic drive takes to get to a station for an item to be pick by an associate. The operations team is particular with the pod gapping since every time a robotic associate gets on the floor to fix robotic drive that has been faulted, it creates pop gapping because robotics drive near that associate will stop for safety.

         Writing an email to an operations team manager can be a bit tricky as it involves pre-planning as we must convince operations how shutting down floors or taking certain action will help productivity. Some of the information one needs to address in an email is what time will the floor go down, what will be archived if we shut the floor down or how much impact will it cause, what area of the floor is being cleaned, and how long will a particular floor be down. Information what will not matter as much in an email is how many associates will be involved in the floor shut down, how will we be fixing things on the floor, what equipment will be used to clean the floor, etc. Communication decisions that I would make is informing the operations team the benefits of shutting down the floor and action plans of how things will come into place. 

References

 

Gerson, S. J., & Gerson, S. M. (2016). Technical Communication (9th Edition). Pearson Education (US). https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9780134118277

Beth Galetti, senior vice president of H. R. at A. (2021, June 10). Diversity, equity, and inclusion. US About Amazon. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/workplace/diversity-equity-and-inclusion. 

 

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