everyone reads the crowd

05 Oct

i was in a situation last week to observe ‘experts’ talking to ‘non-experts’ regarding a somewhat technical subject.  excuse my vagueness, but you’re just going to have to get over it for this post.  at any rate, i saw experts adjusting their message, tone, vocabulary, etc. based upon the people they were talking to.  assumptions were running rampant, these guys were sizing up these people (perhaps there was background knowledge, i’m not sure on that one) and addressing them in a way that i consider to be a bit risky.  if i were to be approached and spoken down to it would not go well.  so which is better…to take the high road and risk speaking over someone’s head and be perceived that way or to take a potentially condescending route and talk to someone like they are a child?  both are fraught with peril.  i go with the former, but both have a high degree of danger in terms of message delivery, right?  if you overshoot or undershoot you risk losing the message in the way its framed.  talk about a topic a way that is too unfamiliar and it won’t stick, insult someone and they don’t care what you have to say.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 5, 2009 in Uncategorized


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One response to “everyone reads the crowd

  1. Deborah Wahlstrom

    November 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    I think of my audience as equals who are interested in getting additional ideas for their toolkits. I work hard to present technical information in an interesting way while I keep my usual conversational tone. It works for me.

    If a topic is unfamiliar, then it’s our job as presenters to build a bit of background knowledge first. So many things we can do!


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