Grammar of Green Communications: Conversation Tip – Know Your Audience

by Nancy Rogers on May 20th, 2011

We take for granted that our modern business world operates 24/7. Personal and work-related calls intersect on cell phones along with texts, tweets, emails and more.

While caller ID can be a life saver, we occasionally ignore technology only to receive a gentle reproach from friends or family expecting a more personal greeting. This predictable exchange is a reminder of a basic tenet of all communications and especially green conversations—know your audience.

Most of you reading this post spend a portion of each day reading updates and exchanging ideas around environmental, social and economic issues. It can be a shock to realize that we have co-workers and neighbors who have never heard the phrase Triple Bottom Line or greenwashing. Seriously, and they are not hermits.

Although it seems elementary, remember talking above or down to your audience will not serve your message or produce the desired call to action. The value of your knowledge and expertise is multiplied when you have the capacity to share information effectively. Even within the green community, designers have concerns that vary from facility managers. A healthcare industry group may offer questions on a different path from hospitality or higher education.

If you want to motivate or educate your readers, listeners, family, friends or followers, here are five tips for green communicators:

  • Convey points in a manner that has value for the audience. What do they expect from you?
  • Offer facts that they can use in a way that they will remember. When appropriate, use humor and personal experiences. For example, what was the first item you recycled?
  • Determine in advance whether the conversation will operate in the same or similar shades of green. Where is your audience on the path to sustainability? The metrics may be determined by passion, experience or shared goals. What is the key take-away and have you presented it effectively?
  • Use simple clean language to reduce confusion. We all use jargon. If in doubt, test your draft for a fresh perspective. Recognize that their baseline may be misinformation.
  • Be authentic and transparent.

Do you have green communication examples that would end tree planting on the low end or create a forest on the high end? Please share.

First posted on http://www.edcmag.com/blogs/14/post/grammar-of-green-conversation-tip-know-your-audience.



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