Knowing your audience is about connecting. If we don’t present things clearly to our intended audience, then one person is talking and another person is hearing but no one is communicating. At least, not in the way that was intended. While we can’t control how actively the other party is engaged, we can certainly influence it by making sure we don’t talk over them or below them, socially or intellectually
If neither of the preceding are enough to peak your interest, then consider it from a self-preservation perspective. It can help you protect your integrity in your professional life or possibly keep you out of the dog house at home!
We have all heard stories of how someone has gotten this wrong. From people talking down to or dismissing someone only to find out the person insulted or ignored had more influence than realized.
Also high on the list of the “Ouch, that’ll leave a mark!” list is sending an off-the-cuff email to a much broader audience than intended. Almost everyone knows someone who has hit the ”send” button on an email only to later realize the distribution list was broader than planned.
All of this can be summed up on two points:
1) Always treat everyone like they are the President / CEO of your biggest customer and then you never have to worry that someone thinks you are talking down to them.
2) Always speak as if you are on a live microphone and send messages as if they will be read on the evening news or from the witness stand.