Pitch To Your Audience

One of the things I learned as a diplomat was to pitch to your audience.  What does this mean?  It means scale the details of what you are talking about to the needs of the person you are speaking with.  I learned this the hard way.

Every morning in Latvia we had to brief the Ambassador about what was going on in our portfolio of responsibilities, etc.  (This, by the way, was a stupid use of the Ambassador’s time, but that is a different story.)  My boss eventually took me aside and told me I was “way too in the weeds” with what I was telling the Amb each morning.

I was shocked and upset.  I had no idea what my boss was talking about.  Only later, when I became a supervisor myself, did I learn that people lower in the food chain can fall in love with their topics and responsibilities and waste other people’s time giving way too much information.

This is also true of anything you write in a work context.  Who will read this information?  How much detail is appropriate?  This answers to these questions scale depending on the level of the person and his/her personality.  Some individuals want more, some want less detail.

In my experience, pitching appropriately to your audience is one of the least intuitive and most important skills in professional life.  You have to learn to scale the details.

Think about it: are you getting this right?

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