Your Audience Is Your Friend

A conversation in one of my classes brought my attention to the impact of audience and the significance that writing to a particular group of people has on your work. It drew me to the Highway 64 project that I am currently working on and the pieces that I must write that highlight my travels and my thoughts regarding them. Since these project pieces will be posted online, not only do I have to remain aware of the content will fit onto the site, but also how the genre itself will affect the people reading the content.

With that being said, audience dictates the writing style of a piece more than most people are aware of. Your audience determines the information that you will be including in your piece, the tone and formality, the structure, what ways to effectively translate your points and main ideas, and the genre in which you produce our work. Being cognizant of these elements and implementing the appropriate methods to approach them enables you to create the best content possible and satisfies readers, which should be a personal goal of the writer.

If you are having trouble creating a piece for a specific audience, try looking at the document from an outsider’s perspective. Think of what you would like to know about the topic if you were someone reading about it for the first time. Also, try establishing what the information the audience cares most about is and let that have precedence. Since the piece will cater to the needs of the audience, understanding what they would want to take away from the reading is important. Getting others to read your work and allowing them to ask questions can also help to make tweaks in clarity and gives you more of that outside perspective.

For more information on the best strategies for catering to an audience for academic papers, check out UNC Chapel Hill’s page on the topic.

Some questions to ponder: What Is the difference between an academic audience and non-academic audience? How can thinking of your audience hep you to express your ideas more clearly?

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