“No director can direct you like an audience”, – these Fanny Brice’s quotation reflects a proper understanding of the meaning of audience. The audience plays a very serious role in technical writing, and it is a matter of great importance not to underestimate it. Therefore, the audience analysis is the crucial step to send your message to your audience efficiently. Let us try to analyze our target audience before writing an analytical report based on the hypothetical writing situation from our assignment.
The central question we must answer is “Who is our audience”? In the beginning, we have to identify the type of our target audience. Whether it is simple or complex? In the present situation, we have a mixed audience, which means that there are several categories of the target audience to whom we want to send the message. In such case, our primary audience (the major potential receiver of our message that we aim at) is our supervisor or our superintendent. This is the person that requested the analytical report from us, so he will be the first one to read it and to make the further decisions.
Thus, we must organize our analytical report considering our supervisor’s personality as our primary audience.
Besides the major audience, we also have a secondary audience in our current situation. Secondary audience (a group of people that our message addresses besides the primary audience) in our case consists of officials who represent the state and federal organizations that provide our school funding. These people will read our report if the supervisor approves it, and they will influence its results soundly. Moreover, some of my colleagues (teachers) may also read the report, so they may as well be included in the secondary audience. To my mind, the students will not read my writing, and I did not consider them to belong to my target audience.
To succeed in making my Audience Analysis, I should consistently answer the special questions about my target audience considering the topic of writing that I prepare. In the present case the topic of my writing as an analytical report on effects/effectiveness of the school’s zero-tolerance policy on guns and other weapons. The theme of my report is very important from the standpoint of background and experience of our target audiences on the topic. The problem of preventing violence at school is rather distributed and close to many people, especially teachers and students. Therefore, both our primary and secondary audience have an experience and background knowledge in the subject of school non-violence policy, as for both my superintendent and my colleagues and representatives of federal organizations were frequently facing and solving the problems regarding school violence. Thus, both my primary and secondary audience is familiar with my report topic and realizes the importance of it.
My relationship with the audience is also significant for analysis. In my situation, most of my target audience’s members are my supervisors, and my relationships with them are formal. The exception is my colleagues, counselors, and teachers, included in my secondary audience. Thus in my writing, I should reflect a formal reference of subordinate to the supervisor.
The next important information needed for my audience analysis is the description of audience members. My primary audience consists of a single person, the school superintendent Mr. Sean Wilkinson. We know each other for several years already, and I am aware of a personality of Mr. Wilkinson. He is a good professional who loves his job and does all his best to improve the school conditions. The matter of a first-order importance for him in his work is to understand the essence of a problem and to solve it putting all the efforts. With simple words, for him, content is much more important than appearance. Mr. Wilkinson has enough knowledge and experience in the field of school policy, including non-violence policy, to correctly understand my message. Thus, for my report to be approved by the superintendent, I should focus on its sense rather than language. On the other hand, I have to consider my secondary audience as well. As it consists mostly of representatives of state and federal organizations that provide our school programs funding whom I do not know personally, I must try to make my report suitable for persons of various characters. The only thing I know for sure about these people is that all of them are good-educated professionals. Thus, considering my secondary audience, my report should be written on high qualified level formally with proper right language.
The information I need for my audience analysis includes the values and expectations of my audience about my message. I must consider what would my audience, both primary and secondary want and need to know about my topic. From this standpoint, there will be a difference between preferences of my primary (school superintendent Mr. Sean Wilkinson) and secondary (state organizations officials) audiences. My supervisor who is my major target audience is headed on developing policies to provide the job security, students’ safety, various social programs within the school, and other activities for the sake of our school and its members. On the other hand, state and federal organizations that provide our school funding are primarily interested in the relevance of the policy offered, optimization of resources usage, and the minimum of budget needed. In this situation when the values of our audiences distinct I should consider both of them and try to satisfy their requirements. In particular, I will make a report look optimally from both standpoints to meet reasonable demands.
In conclusion, I will outline the main points. Your writing has more chances to succeed when preceded by the target audience analysis. Try to draw your message as if your audience is listening to you personally. Take your audience seriously, and it will reciprocate for it in full.
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