thescriptedtangent

I beg to differ

The World’s a Stage – don’t forget who’s watching

on March 2, 2014

Lately I’ve been thinking about audience. It’s the third letter in SOAPStone and the final sentence in a rhetorical precis. It’s absolutely essential to consider when writing an analytical paper: who is the audience? what is the audience like? how does the author build a relationship with the audience? what is the author’s tone towards the audience? etc.

But audience can be found in everyday situations. The music you listen to is written for an audience that relates to it (you). The advertising in the market is made appealing to its audience (consumers). And when you do all your chores without anyone needing to tell you because you want to go somewhere Friday night, you’re catering to an audience (your parents).

Recently I’ve had a few experiences in Girl Scouts that have made me more aware of how audience intuitively affects people’s diction and tone. It all has to do with the annual cookie sale.

  • When I asked my friends to buy, I texted them something along the lines of, “Hi! Wanna buy Girl Scout cookies from me? :)”

  • When I advertised on social media, I used memes and other funnies about cookies. oh girl scout cookies

  • When I asked long-time customers to buy, I said, “Hey! It’s Girl Scout Cookie time again! I know Thin Mints are your favorite since you’ve bought so many, would you like to order a box from me this year as well?”

  • When I asked older neighbors: “Hello. Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies from me? I’m saving up to go to camp this summer. Here are pictures of our 8 delicious flavors!”

  • When I was at a booth sale asking random strangers: “Hi, would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies? Only $4 a box!”

  • And finally, when I email the board of a company to support their local Girl Scouts: “Dear Board Members: Happy Cookie Season! Here are two ways you can support the world’s largest girl-led business: 1. Buy Cookies, or 2. Participate in the Cookie Share program.”

Did you notice the change in word choice? These quotes were all by me! As an experienced seller (this was my eleventh year…wow I feel old) I instinctively knew how to appeal to my different audience. When I asked my friends, I was more informal. When I approached long-time customers, I showed them that I remembered and cared about their purchases from at least a year earlier. With new and older customers, I was polite. And when I asked business people, I reminded them of the value of the Cookie Business.

Remembering your audience is not just a tip for writers and students. In order to be a successful in your career and life, you need to improve your interpersonal skills. For me, the Girl Scout program has been a doorway to learning new things such as this.

Which cookie are you? Take the quiz: http://www.buzzfeed.com/dorieanstevenson/what-kind-of-girl-scout-cookie-are-you

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