OWL logo
General WritingResearch and CitationTeaching and TutoringSubject-Specific WritingJob Search WritingESL
OWL at Purdue Logo

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

Knowing Your Audience

Summary:

This resource provides writing guidance for administrative and clerical staff, including, audience awareness, conventions of particular genres, and general business writing tips such as concision and tone management.

Contributors: Beth Towle
Last Edited: 2016-10-24 11:59:52

One of the most important parts of business writing is knowing how to write for your specified audience. Different audiences will have different expectations of form, genre, and tone. You will have to adjust your writing based on who you are writing for. As administrative staff , you are often asked to write for multiple audiences, so knowing how to adapt your writing is an important skill and a good first place to start.

Your audience may be broad and require you to use a tone and format that works for many different people with different positions. Your audience may be a small group, or even a single individual, which has its own benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, you have a better idea of who you are writing for and what they already know. However, a smaller, more defined audience may require more detailed writing or a careful balance of tone.

There are many things to take into consideration for audience. What age range might your audience encompass? What familiarity with your office are they likely to have? Are you writing for a younger or older audience? For managers or administrators? Are you writing to the general public or other staff?

Once you have determined your audience, it is easier to know what genre or medium to write in, as well as what tone you should use. Knowing your audience will also help you know what the most important information to covey will be. If you are stuck on a piece of writing, analyzing your audience and figuring out their needs should help you figure out where to start.

Copyright ©1995-2017 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.