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Know Your Audience Before You Speak

20 December 2018, by , in Rants and Kudos, No comments

This one may seem obvious, but when you’re speaking to anyone, whether it’s one person, a staff meeting, or a speech to a large group, you need to know your audience. Never assume that who you’re speaking with is “just like everyone else.” This means you should know something about them, and you should know why you’re speaking with them (e.g., is this a sales call, a pitch for a new program, just general edification?).

I experienced a perfect example of this recently. I was helping a client choose a new website platform and agency to support them in their website redesign. During the presentation, the web agency talked at length about how important it is to provide mobile-friendly web pages because that’s how everyone views web pages these days. (After all, the research supports this!) But in this case, this association’s members are “in the field” without any computers all day, and not on mobile devices at all. They know that 80% of their page views are from the desktop, NOT mobile. The association’s website analytics show this.

The agency had defaulted to “the typical association” rather than first asking if the association knew their own analytics. The sales people assumed this association was just like the rest. Needless to say, they didn’t get the gig.

So before you open your mouth, or assume things that you haven’t confirmed, make sure you know something about the people you’re talking to.

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
Wes Trochlil

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