At the Summit Wednesday Morning: Service, Yellow Brick Road, and Knowing Your Audience

Wednesday morning – the final day of the Summit – kicked off with another pair of Spotlight talks, today from Todd DeLuca and Ben Woelk. Todd spoke about the impact that the person providing service has. For example, he said, if you go out to dinner you’re most likely to remember your server rather than the chef and cooks. While technical communicators may be the chefs and cooks of the products we work on, Todd encouraged attendees to try to find ways to be involved with the service and delivery of products to customers. He said service is “COMP-limentary: Chemical, Opportunity, Memorable, and Personal. “I’ve gotten more credit being the deliverer of information that I ever did writing it,” he said.

Next up. Ben Woelk compared personality and leadership traits to the main characters in The Wizard of Oz. He referenced the Kiersey Temperament Theory and leadership traits, explaining that each movie character fell into one of the four main categories: Dorothy the Guardian (the rules people); Cowardly Lion the Artisan (those who just look to get things done); Tin Man the Idealist (he was after his heart, after all); and Scarecrow the Rational (thinking and inventive). And, Ben said, just like the Yellow Brick Road, your career is like a journey. It’s about who you meet along the way. Connect and reconnect whenever you can.

The final session on Wednesday was Christopher Tarantino presenting Know Your Audience (Better than they Know Themselves). Christopher volunteers as an EMT and on the rescue squad, among other pursuits, and along with his company work he focuses on more life-or-death situations than perhaps most technical communicators. If a government organization needs to get a tornado warning out, how do they best communicate it?

Christopher explained how knowing your audience can help answer that question. He discussed demographics, technographics, and psychographics, and broke down people into various levels of savvy when it comes to technology: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Knowing your message and knowing the characteristics of these types can help you pinpoint how and where to deliver your message.

Author: Kevin Cuddihy

124145