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Please read the following. then answer the two questions afterwards.
21 Audience Awareness: Audience AWAReness: expeRtise, biAs, AndciRculAtionYour readers in the workplace expect to get infor-mation from you that they can use. To write usefully for those readers, you must be aware of their needs and expectations, which comprise a broad range of identities and attributes:• Values and priorities• Cultural norms• Demographics• Levels of expertiseIt’s your job is to design accessible content that is ethically and culturally sensitive, and understands the reader’s level of expertise. But there’s still another aspect of audience awareness you’ll need to consid-er. Additionally, your target audience may not be the only people or group who read your document. As you know, many professional and technical docu-ments often circulate far beyond their original con-text. Writing for audience awareness is a big task, but here are some things you can do to make sure your document succeeds with both its main audi-ence, as well as with others who are likely to read it:Analyzing Your Audience’s NeedsThere are some key questions to ask when deter-
22 A Rhetorical Approach to Workplace Writingmining the reader’s needs and expectations:1. Who specifically is your reader? Are there multi-ple readers?2. What do your readers already know about the subject?3. Do you need to modify your message for interna-tional readers? Are there cultural issues that you need to address or avoid?4. How would a reader other than your target audi-ence perceive your work? Is it likely that it could be misinterpreted? As a writer, it’s your job to determine who makes up your audience. You should continue to analyze your audience throughout the writing process. Keep in mind that you need to know the audience’s level of expertise—both in general and on the specific issue or subject your document deals with—if you docu-ment is going to be useful. The following examples demonstrate how to write to different levels of exper-tise in different fields:HealthcareWhile it might be acceptable for a physician to refer his patient to a specialist for their exanthema, that patient is more likely to understand the term “skin rash.” As a writer in the medical field, the importance of writing appropriately for your audience could be lifesaving. Additionally, it will be far less stressful on patients to not keep a medical dictionary on-hand just to decipher what ails them.
23 CirculationEngineeringAs an engineer, you’ll probably need to communi-cate with several different audiences—possibly all in one document. For example, if you are drafting a technical report on your latest project, the company president will be more interested in the executive summary and the financial reporting. Financial ta-bles and projects would be key to this audience. Once the other hand, technicians and engineers will be more interested in the technical details of the project. For this audience, charts, mathematical expressions, and scientific language may be most effective. Both audiences will read the entire docu-ment, but focusing those areas to each group will allow you to communicate your purpose more effi-ciently and effectively.BusinessBusiness writing such as memos, emails, reports and business plans can have very broad audiences, while still communicating very technical information. Additionally, business professionals value efficiency, and often efficiency is viewed as a function of time. For these audiences, communicating the important information first and clearly allows readers to quickly decide if a document is important for them so they can get the details they need and respond as neces-sary in a timely manner.To accommodate different levels of expertise, ask yourself the following: Are your readers knowledge-able on the topic? Do they have extensive back-ground information and familiarity with the subject,
24 A Rhetorical Approach to Workplace Writingor are they laypersons, unfamiliar with the technol-ogy or process you are writing about? The less your audience knows about the subject, the less techni-cal your document should be, and the more likely it is that all acronyms and jargon should be clearly defined. If your audience is a group of people with diverse knowledge, or you don’t know your immedi-ate audience, you may need to make an educated guess about their needs and interests. In this case, you should err on the side of caution by clearly de-fining all process and terms that could be confusing. It’s also important to keep in mind that documents often circulate widely, so you may not know who all your audiences will be. How do you write for audi-ences you may not know you have?Primary, Secondary, and Hidden Audi-encesPrimary audiences are those who receive the com-munication directly. That person is also usually the decision maker. Secondary audiences are those readers who are not the primary addressee, but are still included as viewers. A hidden audience are all those who fall outside of the primary and secondary audiences. This could be someone who shares a common interest with either the primary or second-ary audience or might simply be an indirect recipient of your document. The hidden audience, of course, is the most chal-lenging to accommodate in your document, but here are some tips help make your document useful to all audiences:
25 Circulation• Use at least some language that can be under-stood by hidden audiences. Even the most tech-nical document can include some information that is accessible by general audiences.• Avoid inside jokes or potentially upsetting humor, even if you think your document will be seen only by people you are acquainted with personally.• Exclude biased language. Make sure that your document isn’t going to be perceived as offensive to anyone who might read it.Biased LanguageTechnology has made our lives easier and brought our world closer together, making it accessible to conduct business on global level. When adapting a message to your audience, be sure to use language that is sensitive to implied biases. Avoid expressions that refer to gender, race, ethnicity, age, and dis-ability unless they are necessary for understanding the context of the situation. Avoid use of idioms and phrases, as they are can be confusing or offensive in other cultures.Being audience aware is a big job. No matter how accurate, technically sophisticated, or life-changing the information in your document is, if your audience doesn’t get it, can’t access it, or is offended by it, the information won’t go anywhere and the message doesn’t matter. The response of the audience deter-mines how successful the document is, so under-standing your audience is just as important as un-derstanding what you’re trying to communicate.
1. Imagine that you work for a nation-wide medical supply company. It has recently come to your attention that an account has been mishandled by someone in another department, and you need to notify your immediate supervisor. The person responsible for mishandling the account is well-liked within the company, but in your experience, often shirks her responsibilities. You are planning to provide this information to your supervisor via email, but you know that there is a possibility that you email might be forwarded to others within the company. Your immediate supervisor is your primary audience, but who are the secondary and hidden audiences of this message? How will you understanding of these audiences affect the way in which you craft your message?
2. Consider your next writing task in this course. Who is the primary audience of this document? Also, identify your secondary and hidden audiences. Write a paragraph about each audience that describes their needs and the way you want to write your document to meet those needs.
Please read the following. then answer the two questions afterwards.
21 Audience Awareness: Audience AWAReness: expeRtise, biAs, AndciRculAtionYour readers in the workplace expect to get infor-mation from you that they can use.