Knowing your audience is a key function in communication that is overlooked. We always remember to listen and speak. We often do not recognize the areas in our lives we can see the person or group to which we are speaking and make a strategic connection. We miss critical opportunities to communicate our strengths and receive feedback that can make us successful.
In “Know Your Audience Part 1” I discussed successful communication in our work lives. In this section I want to discuss the communication in our social lives. Even in our social lives we can harvest positive and meaningful interactions that can provide a successful interaction.
Many of us look at our social interactions as a way to be our genuine selves. This is a correct statement. Our social interactions with friends and family allow us a comfort level to be genuine. In order to truly know which part of our personal social lives allow us to “let our hair down” and relax, we need to be honest about who we truly consider friends and family and who we should move to associates.
The Urban Dictionary defines a true friend as “someone who has touched your heart and will stay there”. ( blauenlanze January 05, 2007) The term “friend” is so easily given as a placeholder when people share an experience. The experience can be relatively small, but now there is this commitment and privilege given to someone who may not even deserve your full attention. This is important because we have limited time in life to make meaningful connections. We want to be honest. It is important to understand that friends and family should be as limited as the number of people we can assign a place card to our own banquet.
Now we can identify and understand that the rest of the people in our social lives are not considered friends - but associates. We want to understand how to communicate successfully with these associates. We want to limit the information that we share with those we consider associates. Sharing information about personal finances, fears, frustrations and vulnerabilities should be reserved for those we consider friends. Maintain a friendly and safe communication that displays a semiprofessional rapport. Identify the areas in life these associates can be of value. Build the relationship around that subject and keep it as a reference point for later use. This will allow each communication with these associates to be strategic. Many associates do cross over to friends as success grows. However, there is still the core group of friends that keep your grounded and allow you that opportunity to relax.
Juanita Espino B.S. Comm., M.A.Ed.
Communications Consultant and Professional Advisor