I met a writer once who put pictures of her grandchildren on the wall above her computer. “When I write, I am writing for them and their friends. The pictures are a constant reminder of who I am writing for. Often when I’m stuck, I talk to the pictures trying to find my way through. Sometimes when I read what I wrote that day, I see them smiling or frowning. It sounds weird I know, but it keeps me focused on who I’m writing for.”
Not weird, but rather clever. The writer I met was a children’s book author, but the idea can work for us all. Whether we are writing policies, guidance notes, presentations, and so on. I’ve been struck by how often I fail to do this well. The audience I think about it is too broad – managers, frontline staff, and so on. Getting specific helps us focus. And tends to increase our success rates.
When we target everyone our message gets lost. Everyone is no one. Getting specific can be scary. It conjures up all the emotions of being rejected. However, our message is not us. And acceptance can not be present without the possibility of rejection.
Getting specific is a choice. And the choice is up to us.