Communication Tailoring

Communication tailoring is selecting the appropriate method and style of communication to use in a given situation based on factors such as audience (role, internal versus external, individual versus group, etc.) and available communication methods (email, phone, instant message, teleconference, in-person meeting, etc.). Communication tailoring is important because business analysts consistently need to communicate across multiple levels of an organization and with both internal and external stakeholders. The business analyst makes decisions about the best communication methods to use based on project and stakeholder characteristics.

One of the ways to get your message across is to know your audience. Tailor your message to fit the people you are speaking with. High level executives who see things from the 30,000 foot level (the forest) are not interested in the details (the trees). The minute you go into specifications and technical jargon, you will lose them. On the other hand, technical folks will not be satisfied with a bullet point approach. In their world, using a semi-colon when you should have used a colon can have a devastating effect on the outcome. They are all about the details.

Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is key to successfully delivering your message. This does not mean that you have to personally know the people you are engaging, you just need to understand the type of person who is in your audience and what their likely preferences are for receiving communication. Luckily, there are some ways that can help us understand who we are addressing without knowing them directly.

Areas of Expertise
The area of a person's expertise is a great indicator of what kind of information they are used to dealing with and how they prefer to receive information.

Personality Tendencies
There are many different personality assessment methods that can be helpful in figuring out the best way to communicate with someone. Introverts have different stressors than Extroverts. You don't want your message to be lost simply because someone was uncomfortable with the environment or too focused on things not relevant.

Language and Cultural Differences
Misunderstandings can occur on very simple things. And in today's global economy where we work with people from other countries and other cultures constantly, it is important to know how those differences may affect perception and understanding.

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