Schlagwort-Archive: Target group

The simple formula for a text

You have decided to put your „Hello world“ in writing on the way. The finalized text already floats in front of your inner eye. However, the path from your imagination to paper or into the computer requires guard rails which keep you on track. In contrast to the content of a text, the formal composition follows a surprisingly simple formula.

The following outline provides simple hints for blog posts, articles or book chapters – also for you.

Organize your content!

You know what you want to write. You have your own personal style. You keep exchanging ideas with others. These are perfect conditions to develop your text. Now the task is to organize your train of thought. Know what you want to achieve, what messages you have, and in what order you develop your argument by making a sketch.

Track down your target group!

The focus on a specific target group is crucial for the impact of your text. Do you already have a notion of your readers? You have any idea what they are interested in? You know their jargon? With these ideas you will find suitable words, choose a text tone and encourage the readers to persevere ‘til the end of the text and eventually consider your text consciously. With PERYOU a kind of dialogue with the reader is possible that provokes new insights.

Use the signal effect of the title!

Most readers decide based on titles within one to two seconds whether to continue reading or not. This no longer applies only to the web, but also to printed matter. The headline sticks out of the flowing text and shows at a glance, what the reader can hope for. This is especially true for the headline of an article. In addition, paragraph/chapter headings provide quick access to the flow of thought. In a few words, you phrase solutions, advantages and incentives that bring new points of view to the target group.

Start with a glimpse!

Take advantage of an entry that further increases the stimulated interest. With this pretension, the introduction, you can create a frame for the reader that makes the later main part catchier. You place a comprehensible context, prepare for the main messages and provide each individual with reasons to continue to read. Anticipate the essential questions of your target group and provoke the readership with skeptical statements.

Convey the points of view!

Your actual messages and explanations unfold in the main section. This part is the most extensive and requires a suspense curve that captivates the reader. This is achieved with section titles (see above), which give the reader an overview and spurs on curiosity continuously. In addition, you should make sure that the content provides readers with explanations, options and value as well as clarifies the overall message.

End with an outlook for more!

Be careful not to abruptly leave the reader behind after your argument has been conclusively concluded. Make sure that your message still has an impact by creating a reverberation with an outlook. After the text is before the text. Summarize the new insights for the readers and create a bridge to further topics – it is advantageous if you already have the next text in mind and can refer to it.

Bottom line: You will already be dealing with the above topics. And somehow the points mentioned are clear to everyone. Nevertheless, it helps to refresh them from time to time. Of course you have your contents in front of your eyes. And you know who you’re writing for. You know the signal effect of a title. And you’ll probably use an introduction to effectively frame your messages and to look outside the box. Yet, it is always helpful to be aware of the above variables, which make up the simple formula. Not to forget the additional design elements that can further enhance the expediency of a text, such as the page layout, font sizes and formats, as well as visualizations of all kinds.

The best example remains the practical example

What is said, when the listeners do not understand, what they are hearing? “As a producer of traditional food made from ground grains, H2O, storing of gases and a few extras, kneaded to dough and then baked in an oven you achieve a real sales growth, when you focus on motivating the so far not present, complementary consumer segments in directly investing in your products.” Thoughtless, abstract descriptions rarely lead to the target. The best example remains the practical example.

The examples will become practical by considering the following aspects.

  • Target group-oriented examples
    The most important thing by far is the consideration of the target group. What makes a target group? The first question to ask is about the factors that differentiate them. This can be professional, functional, cultural, application-oriented or other things – the industry sector, the functional area in the company, the Asian culture, the IT solution or cost aspects, etc. The examples should be chosen according to the interests of the target group.
  • Easy to apply
    Examples need to relate to the reality of the audience. Only then, they can be transferred. Describe the cases deviating magnitudes from the target group, strange problem areas or other cultural realities, the stories may be good, but unfortunately not realizable. For appropriate examples, it is necessary to understand the use cases of the target group, in order to provide appropriate templates.
  • 7plusminus2
    Regardless of the target group, the examples should not exceed the processing capacity of people. Investigations have shown that all people can handle 7plusminus2 chunks. A chunk is one of up to nine elements, which can be kept in the short-term memory. This means for the examples that they use as few chunks as possible in a statement, e.g. various influence factors. This ensures that the listener is not overwhelmed by too much information and eventually can not remember anything.
  • Free of abstract terms
    Even rocket scientists do not understand everything. On the one hand there are the terms of a subject area, which are continuously extended. On the other hand these are the abstract terms, e.g. complexity, strategy, model, effectiveness, efficiency, etc., which trigger different ideas in everybody’s mind. Since an example should show reliably a situation, at best avoid abstract terms.

It is not always possible to personally assess the concrete circumstances. Nevertheless the target group should be imagined in advance. This can be done by visualizing it in front of its inner eye, sometimes by listening to its inner ear, or by feeling sensibly into the situation. Articles and contributions on the Internet provide a lot of information concerning the respective topic. With these impressions, you will almost automatically be closer to the target group than if you do not anticipate it in advance.

Bottom line: The statement in the beginning will be incomprehensible to most people, although it is written in plain English. The sentence could also be formulated as follows: In order to win new customers for your baked goods, you, as a baker, can go out of your shop to the streets for exciting passers-by with fresh bread samples out of your assortment. Only few of us are bakers and yet we can understand this message. Whenever we want to communicate something to others, it is helpful to use examples that are target-group oriented, easy applicable, contain 7plusminus2 messages, and are free of abstract terms. The best example remains the practical example.

Undermining oneself

Most tasks require a lot of preparation, mental stamina and serious efforts, in order to prepare the results. With the appropriate engagement the outcomes are normally presentable. Occasionally there are chances to share the experiences with others. Eventually there is even a remarkable presentation set. In the crucial moment, when all eyes are directed on you, one stumbles and undermines oneself.

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You could avoid most of the traps. The following bullets are some simple elements that you should evade in any cases.

  • Give an uncertain impression
    It all begins in the first seconds of the presentation. Hanging shoulders, lacking eye contact and a suffering facial expression without a trace of smile produce an incapable impression for the audience. The best content cannot compensate.
  • Arrogant appearance
    The opposite of an uncertain manner is the smug appearance that tells the listeners that they are dumb and should be grateful that one takes the time to explain the world to them. This begins with a cheeky greeting and goes to awkward teaching. Everybody knows how it works. Or not?
  • Speaking in an incomprehensible language
    “The intention of reminiscence is the reflection of the exorbitant quintessence that you forced upon by serendipity.” What a pity the good results are distorted by an incomprehensible language like this. It only takes many words, a set of subordinate clauses and links to exclude any meaning from a message. The target audience defines what they get. Who gives a Spaniard, who does not know English, a presentation in English. Or presents to a non-expert crowd information in an unknown jargon.
  • Load statement negatively
    “Unconsciously we do not believe that we cannot do many things and never know that we know nothing.” Although we are convinced that we control a lot instinctively and can always access our experiences, in order to contribute something. Words load a statement with energy that cramp the purpose – not, never, no, none, without, nothing, nobody. Prefixes are a fast way for negating, by putting them in advance: – a-social, in-competent, dis-informed, ir-relevant. In German you can even put words together, in order to give them an evaluation – gift+grün (bilious green), stink+fein (ritzy), or scheiß+freundlich (palsy-walsy).
  • Not getting ready for the event
    The safest way to fail is not to be prepared. To present off the cuff is a good idea in workshops or in other open situations. Presentations or sales talks without a clear operational sequence, ill prepared statements and unskillful exchange of thoughts are wasted opportunities for you and particularly for the audience.
  • Missing relation to the target group
    The reference to the target audience is created by the fact that you imagine previously the group with the mental eye. Although it consists of different individuals, who provide together a certain image – business types (e.g. developer vs. sales person), interests (e.g. vision vs. results) and attitudes (being vs. having). If you do not connect with the audience due to unawareness, you will inevitably fail.

The first step towards a solution is being aware of the previous bullets. Giving a sense of security, appearing modestly, expressing yourself clearly, and loading expressions positively, being prepared and connecting with the audience is the way out that however all have to develop for themselves.

Bottom line: The best result cannot be appreciated, if you undermine your own appearance by awkward behavior, an incomprehensible language and missing preparation. The effect that you get does not come for a large part from the conclusive and correct work result, but from the impression that you leave.

The overall context determines the understanding

The language does not offer an adequate base, in order to interpret a phrase.  Let’s pull one of world literature out of its context “The husband asked, would she allow him to smoke, obviously not with a view to smoking, but to getting into conversation with her.” You can better understand what is happening, if you know that this is a sentence out of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoj. The internal images adapt immediately. If you realize that you are in a train compartment you get even close to the circumstances. The following illustration creates on the left a frame condition and offers on the right goods for smokers. Which one fits best? That depends on the mental framework in your mind, because the overall context determines the understanding.

contextsmoking

If you prepare a lecture, you have to take care of the circumstances. There are three aspects that affect this total context.

  • The presentation
    Since you can only understand the things that you can express with words and pictures, the designing of the presentation is a pre-requisite for the transmission of meaning. Most of the times people limit themselves to the determination by facts that are worth it to convey. Unfortunately, many stop there. The information should always be translated attentively into the appropriate words, metaphors, and visualizations that can be understood by the target audience. The dissemination of the own ideas is the real purpose. Eventually the worm has to taste good to the fish, not to the fisherman.
  • The event
    The interpretation framework that is created by the event, determines the exegesis of the messages. The title of the event, the various subject areas and the participating presenters with their program items give the attention of the audience a certain direction. Presentations that do not fit within the framework will have difficulties to attract sufficient attention. For this reason you should always consider, how you can shape your contributions to the event. At least titles, examples and presentation style should fit into the program. Eventually the messages need the loosened soil in the consciousness of the audience, in order to strike roots.
  • The target group
    The total context is determined by the background and the technical field of the listeners. The cultural background can be derived from the place of the meeting. If the addressees come from the western hemisphere, they are for example coined by values, as good and bad, right and wrong. The eastern heritage is based on the balance of Yin and Yang. Accordingly, the desire for acknowledgment is more pronounced in the west and less in the east. The attitudes of the expected participants can also be derived from the event. It is mainly a matter of distinction, whether it concerns technique, sales or leadership oriented listeners. In any case the presentation should be adapted to the respective cause. Eventually there is no general sequence of the lecture that fits for all imaginable opportunities.

Each spectator and all speakers bring in their total context. The effect of the exchange of information is a result of the overlap that you achieve between the total contexts. How far you create this, can be recognized by the reaction of the public.

Bottom line: The overall context determines the probability that a message reaches the target audiences. Here it is not a matter of your own preferences, but above all the adapted presentation, the general framework of the event and the respective target audience. Since the context always changes from one to the other event, the appropriate conceptions should always be adapted to the respective case, because the total context determines the understanding.

The unnecessary blind spot

The bigger a project, the more people are involved, the interim results and milestones are created, the more coordination is necessary and the higher the costs are. A lot of effort goes into the reporting for the decision makers and the committees. Unfortunately, the project team rarely determines the target group profile. These characteristics of the deciders have a large influence on the effectiveness of communication. The resulting, unnecessary blind spot leads often, despite good results, not to an adequate appreciation.

DerblindeFleck

Many push the fact to the back of their mind that the workload of the project is today less than fifty percent technical problem solving and more than fifty percent communication. The reports have a special function, since they introduce and explain the results. Thus, they contribute crucially to success and failure. Misunderstandings and wrong classifications undermine objectively good results. A main reason for the unsatisfactory presentations is the misconception that a good solution is already sufficient, in order to be successful.
Imagine the inventor of an all-purpose knife for the kitchen that no longer blunts. He shows short videos, in which the knife is used to cut vegetables, fish and meat like butter. As a special effect, he tested his invention under continuous use in a slaughterhouse for four weeks. The video shows butchers ramming the knife several times into pigs and cutting them into pieces, even though the target group consists of housewives, not butchers. With his objective demonstration of the efficiency of the knife, he awakes inadvertently murderous scenarios within the mind of the public. Accordingly, the presentation fails to have the desired effect.

An important element during the preparation of a presentation is the consideration of the individual characteristics and conceptions of the respective target group. This requires an early profiling. The creation of the profile is possible without larger effort, if you use the correct structure (e.g. self-image http://ow.ly/wsIjz).

With the clear understanding of the target group, the following aspects can be achieved.

  • You provide the target group room for their associations, by limiting yourself on information according the interests of the target group. The nominalization of specific activities creates connection points to their everyday experiences, e.g. the cutting of vegetables, the carving of meat.
  • The connection of the results with the experiences and convictions of the target group facilitates them to integrate the messages into their understanding. Generalizations and classifications elicit many thoughts, e.g. food is also a feast for the eye; the cold kitchen thrives on cutting.
  • The use of examples out of the experience areas of the listeners activates their presumptions and existing explanations for cause and effect and links them to the presentation. Thus, role models supply a variety of associations, e.g. the most important tool of star cooks is the sharp knife; good food becomes a successful dinner with a good knife.
  • With the definition of crucial terms, you prevent that the listeners use their imagination in the wrong direction. They create a basis as objective as possible, e.g. the knife functions in all areas of the kitchen; continuous tests did not produce any indications of wear.

These aspects are especially valid, if it comes to the abstract topics of the economy. In these areas, the danger to misinterpret a presentation is big, since the range of interpretations goes quite far. Terms, such as goals, results, satisfaction, economics etc. are interpreted differently by the listeners. It is important to understand the attitudes of the target group in advance and to incorporate indispensable explanations based on these insights. Reports, tailored to the respective target group, ensure that the results can be appreciated accordingly.

Bottom line: The profiling is a simple approach, in order to prevent the unnecessary blind spot, the fuzzy target group conception. This way, you convey more effectively your interests and results.

I spread an idea!

An increasing number of specialists produce more and more information. The knowledge of the world doubles every five to fifteen years. The amount of data in the public Internet (2012) contains 26.7 Exabyte. That corresponds 66750-times of all books ever written. One Exabyte are 1018 byte = 1.000.000.000 .000.000.000 Byte. The daily ideas that develop all people day by day at work are not included. Especially the idea that you developed.

 Zahraeder

After the idea is available, it should be spread everywhere. Besides ‘classical’ marketing, a particularly designed idea finds almost automatically its way to the audience. The components of the idea are prepared for this purpose in such a way that they reach the target group with new tools, like the use of imitation, training, mouth propaganda and Trojans.

During the spreading, it is, above all, important that the target group is motivated and can take over and use the idea in a simple way. Four kinds of selection criteria help the target group. The attention is attracted, when the idea is completely new and can be used and conveyed in an easy way. The more lasting the qualities are, the target group can benefit more from the idea. Accuracy is achieved through language and peculiarities of the target group during the dissemination. The idea always reinforces itself with purposeful repetition of specific elements.

Extend your idea with the following three steps. The elements create a contagious message.

  1. Illustrate your idea!
  2. Describe the Aura of the idea! (1)
  3. Define the Sphere of the idea! (2)

Now, your idea can be conveyed and discussed. In contrast to a prepared plan that provides detailed descriptions to solve a task, the idea is still open for changes and new elements.

(1) The Aura consists of the common denominator, the existing assumptions and the aspects that make the content attractive.

(2) The Sphere includes the trigger, the qualities and the benefit as well as the values of the content.

Further information:

Same series:

I need an idea – Now!

I sense an idea

I have an idea!

 

Verbal Smoke Bombs

In times of the continuous production and distribution of news, the attention of the target group is the most important currency. Negative novelties damage in this context particularly people, who depend at most on the public opinion: Politicians and the stock market.

Ansprache

They need regularly formulations that let them appear in positive light. The following approaches are used, if the actual news is mediocre or even bad.

  • Proclaiming normality
    Sometimes things happen that do not correspond with expectations. Then, they simply make normality out of the current situation. „It is completely normal that… “
  • Focusing on positive results
    At the end of a project a positive impression evolves by describing the results and by concealing shortcomings.  They make successful partial results to the overall success of the project. “We achieved the following results.”
  • Demonstrating decisiveness
    They show resoluteness by deciding explicitly something banal and emphasizing it. The target group will mainly remember the decisiveness – „We decided unanimously to reflect about further steps“
  • Complaining about the lack of information
    They do not want to face a negative fact. In this case they doubt the existence of the problem due to the lack of information. “We are lacking the complete information.”
  • Planning pro-active action
    If the truth cannot be denied, they announce a plan that will provide new insights in a near future. „We installed a task force for… “

If you do not want to lose your credibility, be more specific and avoid these vague formulations.

Meaning is not simply defined

A substantial part of the economy, politics and other areasof life is the exchange of information. The biggest mistake is the assumption that a situation is clear per se. On the one hand, due to generalizations, distortions and deletions parts of the message get lost. On the other hand, receivers of the message extend the actual meaning with their own associations and interpretations. Although contents are passed on deliberately, the meaning lies in the eye of the recipients. The path to the message is steep and uncertain. It requires effort and time. There is no guarantee that the desired outcome can be achieved at the target group. Meaning is not simply defined.

For this reason, a good preparation is important. The actual exchange is not limited to the statement, but requires conscious coordination – talks and discussions. Since understanding only becomes visible in doing, meaning design reaches until practical implementation.

BG-scribble e

Meaning design consists of three steps: developing the idea, exchanging information and the realization in doing. If a step is skipped, the probability of obstacles grows.

Develop
From the idea to the concept, the stability of contents evolves. For this purpose, it is favorable to consider alternative options. In the case of developing ideas, the arguments for the selected solution as well as the counterarguments for the other alternatives arise.
Example: The market for video rentals is breaking down. You develop new business models, in order to stay in business. Alternatives are: starting an on-line business, specializing your offer or giving up the business. You decide for a specialized offer of cultural rare pieces that will be rented and sold nation-wide.

Communicate
From concept to the prepared message to the desired effect, the basis of acceptance is defined. The translation of the abstract concept into the language of the target group is crucial for understanding. Therefore, it is important to know the language and ways of thinking of the target group. In mutual exchange of ideas, the edited message and aspects of the concept are improved. The result is the common understanding.
Example: You visit your branches and present the new concept to your employees. They give you the idea, to add foreign films to your product range that are difficult to obtain. The employees are enthusiastic about your training program that teaches them the new assortment.

Do
From the initial doing to mastery, the desired effect evolves. Not until the message causes an action, it becomes visible, whether the concept functions or not. The involvement of the doers into a regular dialog ensures the desired advantages in the long-term.
Example: After you prepared the market with elaborated advertising for your offer, first issues arise in the support of your knowledgeable customers. With the introduction of appropriate information systems, the employees adjust themselves to the new market. The revenue develops in the desired direction.

Bottom line

The conscious use of meaning design enables the transfer from an old to a new condition. Crucial are the thoughtful concept, the active reconciliation with the involved ones and the continuous improvement of the outcomes.