i forget the audience

Sometimes I forget the audience.

Sometimes when I am thinking about strategy, I forget the people that need to hear.

Sometimes when I am writing an appeal letter, I forget that there are different reasons to give. I forget that there are different reasons that people are on the mailing list.

Sometimes when I am being pragmatic, I forget that there are people who are dreaming.

Sometimes when I am being creative, I forget that some people hear facts best.

Sometimes when I am really busy, I think I even forget Nancy.

And then I look up. And she is there waving.

“This is who I am,” she says.

“This is how I think. This is what I care about. This is where I am.”

And when I am wise, I listen to that voice and I smile at that smile and I wave at that wave.

But there are many audiences that don’t care nearly as much about me as Nancy does. And they aren’t waving hello.

They are waving goodbye.

When we stare at the screen, at the coolness we create, at the wonderful wit of our words, at the intricacy of our designs, let’s not forget what I often forget.

There are people in there.


5 responses to “i forget the audience

  1. On the other hand… there are people who are reading your words who don’t know you or care about you at all – but are still touched by something that you write.

    If you focus on the intention – the ‘so what?’ – then people can make the connection beyond them and you, beyond the words even, to the positive thing that connects you both together.


  2. ah. the intention.

    If the intention is to connect to an audience, you for example, I need to be aware of everything I know about you. And if I am asking you for something, as in an appeal letter, I need to consider what interests you, not just what I think should interest you.

    There are times when the intention is to speak truth, or to express perspective, or to invite interaction. And then there is more space for me to not know you.

    Make sense?

  3. Yes. And yes. And in our drive for efficiency in communication, we forget that many times communication is only effective at the one to one level, or one to a few. Efficiency and personal are hard to achieve simultaneously.

  4. That’s a good point Jim, similar to the Emilio post last week I think. The more people you try to communicate with the less personal and the less likely to evoke the response you want or but sure that you will evoke a response.

  5. I really like that picture of Nancy waving at you.

    Sometimes when I’m sub-par mothering I forget these are people I’m helping to grow. Luckily they are always there reminding me. Sometimes with a smile, sometimes not so much.