Posts Tagged ‘audience analysis’

This is going to ramble. Given that just about everything else is blossoming, burgeoning, and — achoo! — producing pollen, this seems appropriate.

Encomnium on Double Pork Chops

O Muse, sing of gifts that keep on giving, and meals shared that result in many more meals afterwards…. Once upon a time, there was a splendid family dinner at a nearby restaurant.  We don’t get to see these cousins very often, so, yes, the meals were more than we’d ordinarily spend on a dinner.  But that double pork chop was not just delicious that one night for one person.  There were five servings from the chop and side dishes, and then Word made wonderful chili using the meaty bones we’d stored in the freezer.  The other entreé brought home lasted several meals as well, so I think it all turned out to be a remarkably frugal, as well as delicious set of choices.

Cue Jefferson Starship

Or don’t, but that’s what I heard one evening last week as I was looking up at the glow of young green leaves erupting on the Tulip tree near the church. The black of the branches, the grey of the clouded sky, and green spring green…. “Nothin’s gonna stop us now!

Yes, I am aware that these are maple leaves.... The tulip leaves are too high to get a good picture.

On Utility

While I might want to live in a William Morris space, where things were useful and beautiful, I have to confess that a lot of the useful things are not nearly as lovely as an outsider might like, and there are lovely things hidden away because they don’t have a purpose. For example, the Dansk sugar bowl, or heirloom china that forms a service I’m never likely to perform.  We don’t put sugar in beverages, usually, so unless we’re baking or mixing something up, the sugar can very well sit in its little paper bag or in the gasketed Saccharum jar.

There is a crystal sugar bowl that does get regular use.  It holds the Advil, and sits on the microwave, next to the pharmaceutical-quality glass mortar and pestle set, which typically holds a head of garlic.

My life requires tea and coffee, but tea/coffee cups are ornamental things — give me a mug, and please let it be safe for use in the aforementioned microwave [not a thing of beauty, and I don’t think some steampunk aesthetic surround system would solve that problem].

But that brings me to something that came up on a polymer discussion list [“Is x crap?”]  Well, does the world need more covered Bic stick pens?  Did we need to cover pens with polymer in the first place? Maybe a few. Probably they’re a great form of self-expression for the people making them, and some might be easier for people to hold than the stick pen by itself. For other people, the stick pen is a cheap form of advertising, and they’re mighty handy at the Post Office for filling out forms. But because I can get a free stick pen with relatively little effort, I don’t value them terribly much.  And because I don’t find writing with ball-points enjoyable, even an especially beautifully-decorated one isn’t going to attract my cash. That isn’t the fault of the person doing the decoration; it’s just a mis-match of object to audience.

What would inspire me hand over money? Hmmn.  Other than food, plants, and art supplies, not much recently…..

Oh, wait: SNAPThat I did ask Word to buy…..

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Jargon creep has gone on for ages, but I didn’t encounter the bizzare task of crafting “elevator speeches” until about 2003, when I was working for a company that believed everyone should have one to reflect their role in the organization. These little ditties are what you are supposed to recite, clearly and forcefully, when you get a private moment with a client or potential client — and such moments tend to occur, apparently, in elevators. I suspect this is just a much nicer way of labeling what is really a “Okay, you’ve got them cornered” speech or a “A polite person won’t be able to run away, so go for it!” speech. [This form of speech has an even more evil cousin, called the “Blackberry Pitch”, which I’ll discuss some other time.]

Here’s an article grumbling about the language used in such discourse

Of course, the first audience for this kind of speech isn’t actually the person who is supposed to be the audience — the first person who has to love love LOVE that job description or elevator speech is the middle manager or boss who wants to hear their business described in an “impressive” way.  The problem is that what’s impressive to an insider [or someone buried in managerial wonkiness] is not necessarily going to actually be comprehensible to a potential client.  And the problem is magnified if the person reciting the description is talking to someone who isn’t a part of that business at all….say, some poor schlub who chose the wrong time to get seconds of potato salad during the reunion.

The problem of bloated, blathery language infesting Middle Manageria has been discussed in many journal articles — my favorite is the one where well-meaning tech writing consultants come in to give workshops on clear language, and it turns out their efforts have less impact than the “please stop smoking” workshops. [I want to say it was by Brown and Herndl, but I’m not sure….will need to look that up.].  If being vague and pompous earns you points with your superiors and prevents your underlings from really understanding what you do all day, what earthly motivation would you have to become clear, brief, or precise?

Some coaches do push elevator speakers [this begs the question of whether there are elevator whisperers, doesn’t it?] to think about their audience and trim out excess material. I know this. But when push comes to shove, it is easier to get into the trap of using inflated language than it is to get out again….

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