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Understand Your Audience

By understanding our audience’s needs, we will be able to better communicate with them.

Before you even think about different communication methods, stop and fully explore who your target audience is and what their needs are.

Using our running scenario we began in Step 1 , let’s say we’ve identified our primary message as being the need for improved pediatric training.

Our primary target audience we identified in Step 2 is EMS training leadership, including the EMS director, EMS advisory board members, pediatric task force members, training managers, trainers, and training colleagues. (We will leave off the other groups for now for simplicity).

Questions to Help You Understand Your Audience

What do you know about your target audience? Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What does their day consist of? What are their needs? How much detail would they want? How much data would they want? How is it easiest to communicate with them? What do they care about most?

Question mark.All of these questions are important to consider. You may have to unfairly lump people together to answer these questions, but this is okay as long as it helps you understand your audience a little more as a whole. Let’s think about these questions for our EMS training leadership group. Here are some of the thoughts I came up with for this group:

  • Who are they? EMS training leaders .
  • What are their backgrounds? Backgrounds differ widely, but most often they are government employees who often started as EMS providers and have risen through the ranks into positions of EMS and training leadership.
  • What does their day consist of? Lots of back-to-back meetings: planning, coordination, and problem solving.
  • What are their needs? Succinct, to-the-point messages focused on the problem and potential solutions.
  • How much detail would they want? Very little. Only what is needed.
  • How much data would they want? Very little. Maybe a chart or two to explain the problem and demonstrate its importance.
  • How is it easiest to communicate with them? Probably through face-time at meetings that they already attend or calling another meeting. Possibly email or phone.
  • What do they care most about? They care about EMS in the state being run as effectively and efficiently as possible with available resources. They care about having an effective training system. They care about the quality of EMS care and the potential repercussions of an EMS system being run poorly. They care about maintaining and increasing funding. They care about cutting costs and other system wastes. They also care about their jobs and future careers.

Repeat for Other Audiences

While these answers may not reflect the needs of each individual member of our target audience, they do help us get a better feel for who the audience is as a whole. By understanding our audience’s needs, we will be able to better communicate with them. You would want to create a similar list of characteristics for each of the other target audiences you identified in Step 2.


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rev. 04-Aug-2022




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