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An annual report written on behalf of a corporate organisation: We must address the concerns of stakeholders and potential stakeholders. We can assume that these readers have at least some background knowledge of what the organisation does and will not need to include what each individual member of staff does. Advertising copy written for the same product or service might have different content and style dependent upon the medium through which the advertisement will be broadcast.
Letters or emails to personal friends may be written in a very informal style since there is already a degree or familiarity between the writer (you) and the audience (your friend).
For instance, in a message about an unpopular change in parking policies, Be Nice to Me readers need you to tell what’s being done to lessen the impact on employees and visitors.
TSLB3023 English for Academic Purposes (EAP) - Audience and Style
Audience and Style
Identifying nature and purposes of writing
Knowing who your audience
adapt the content of your writing to address the main concerns of your
If you know your readers are specialists in a particular area, the writing style
should acknowledge this and differ from an article written on the same topic
for the general public.
Knowing your audience will also help you
to decide on the “voice” to use.
The writer's “voice” is a literary term used to describe the individual writing
style of an author but also includes how formal or informal (relaxed) the
tone of voice should be.
However this same style is not appropriate in professional situations where
a more formal tone is expected.
If you are writing to very busy people who perhaps
receive hundreds of similar communications…
adopt a brief and succinct written style that conveys the key messages
quickly and clearly.
consider including charts, diagrams or illustrations if this helps to convey
the key messages more succinctly than elaborate and convoluted text.
Provide the detailed content if you know that you are writing to people
who want or need it and do ask if you do not know how much detail is
Just Give Me
Be Nice to Me Be Interesting
Different readers have different reading styles.
Tell Me Everything
needs plenty of details, along with sources for more information
anticipate and answer all your reader’s questions
Generally, begin with an executive summary, lay out the key points, provide details,
describe alternatives, and list possible next steps.
Just Give Me The Facts
They need just the facts.
When writing to this type, be very concise.
Use an action-oriented subject line, a one-sentence summary, crisp bullet points, a
quick conclusion, and your name and phone number.
Be Nice to Me
Be Nice to Me readers need to be recognized as people.
They prefer friendly, courteous language and sincere individual comments.
They also want people issues to be addressed.
They need evocative stories, rich metaphors, and thought-provoking scenarios.
They need big-picture visions and inventive thinking.
They need to be engaged because most business writing concisely communicates
routine information, these readers go through most days uninspired by what
appears on their screens.
When you give them something special, you get their attention.
For your Tell Me Everything readers, attach additional data
and provide sources for more information.
For your Just Give Me the Facts readers, use precise
headings so that they can skim and skip to their bottom line.
For your Be Nice to Me readers, include Please, Many thanks,
and Have a good trip, along with relevant human factors.
For your Be Interesting readers, refer to the big picture or the
future. If possible, include an engaging question such as
“What if for just one day all of us challenged conventional