5 Tips To Help You Engage A Diverse Audience
For employers only
Truly connecting with diverse audiences can be a difficult task. Read Avery Blank's article from Forbes to better understand your employees.
Every individual is just that: an individual. Each person is different. People are different in their interests, what motivates them and how they learn. In the workplace, there are different levels of seniority, professional experiences, cultural backgrounds and functional and access needs.
If, for example, you are communicating a policy that impacts a variety of people, how do you engage all of these people? How do you educate everyone? Should you even try to engage and educate a broad audience?
A policy, by definition, is a rule or plan adopted and followed by group of people or organization. Because policies involve more than one person, this means that multiple people will need to buy into or follow the rule.
Engaging a diverse audience creates cohesion and momentum. If you want to communicate an issue to a diverse audience, be intentional in preparing for and delivering your communications. Here are five tips to help you engage a broad audience:
1. Understand who your audience is and what motivates people.
Who are the people you want to engage? What are their backgrounds? Some people may know more about the topic than others. Some may be more interested in the topic than others.
Seek out colleagues who may understand the perspective of your audience members. Engaging a diverse group of people while preparing will help you better serve and communicate with different types of people.
2. Communicate your point clearly and through various mediums.
Use methods of communication with which your audience is comfortable. Some consume information via e-newsletter. Some may be more inclined to consider your idea if it is published in a peer-reviewed journal article. Others like to learn information through short videos or tweets.
If you want an array of people to listen to you, share your message through the method by which they consume their information. Meet people half way.
3. Check your bias.
Do you tend to use the word “she” or “her” to reference examples of administrative work? Are you using (too many) commands such that you sound like a commander in chief rather than part of your audience?
Check for biases by reading your work out loud or recording yourself. Ask colleagues to read your work or listen to you practice. Teammates may identify tendencies, tone, or word choices that might be perceived as bias or off-putting. The fairer you are, the more people will listen to you.
4. Listen to people.
Provide an opportunity for your audience to communicate with you. Communication is a two way street. It is an exchange of information. Listen as much as (or more than) you speak.
Include a question and answer (Q&A) segment, for instance. Respond to social media comments. When people feel heard, they see that you care. When people recognize that you care about them, they will make an effort to care about you and what you have to say.
5. Open up, and be vulnerable.
While communicating the point you want to share, don’t be afraid to share a personal story. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something.
Humility is an admirable quality. Humility is a leadership quality.
People have diverse experiences, but people also have shared experiences. The more open people are, the more people can see the commonalties among each other. Those commonalties can help overcome the inclination to focus on differences and allow human beings to connect.
Engaging a diverse audience is not easy, but there are steps you can take to make your communications more effective and compelling. Know your audience, and express your point through a communication method they use. Do your best to be impartial. Listen to and be open with others.
What helps you to engage a diverse audience?