How Audiences Decide Essay

2345 words - 9 pages

Discussion Questions for Chapter 1 1. What is Chapter 1's main point? The main point in this chapter was the importance and effectiveness of knowing the decision criteria of your audience. Expert audience members already know what information they need to make an informed decision and usually prefer presenters not cover anything unrelated to their decision criteria. In some cases, the decision criteria can be extremely specific. This "mental checklist" is very useful information to the communicator so he covers the information the expert audience needs and expects. An expert audience member has formed his decision criteria by repeatedly making the same type of decision. As a result, the presenter is more likely to persuade the expert audience member into making the desired decision. An example of this might be an investor talking to a fund manager. The investor might have a very specific checklist as to what information he needs to decide whether to invest. For instance, he might require hearing specific financial ratios - return on equity, return on investment, risk profile, etc. Knowing your audience's decision criteria with an expert audience is so important that oftentimes, presenters will look to discover the audience's decision criteria through market research, and techniques like the Multi-Attribute Utility Analysis and the Analytical Hierarchy Process. In addition, an expert audience member might appreciate the presenter using specific benchmarks (i.e. S&P 500). This type of comparative data will help the expert audience member make an informed decision. This together with the expert audience member's mental checklist will form the decision schemata, a grid detailing their decision making process. In total, Chapter 1 explains the importance of knowing your audience, understanding their decision making process and decision criteria, what benchmarks they prefer to use, and other such useful information. Armed with this information, the presenter will be far more effective in getting the desired decision because he can now highlight what the expert audience member deems essential information. 2. In what ways does the chapter challenge common assumptions about effective communication? It is commonly assumed that one should view their audience as empty cups waiting to be filled by the communicator. However, this is not the case. In many cases, the audience member is an expert at making certain types of decision and thus, is not an empty cup waiting to be filled. Instead, the audience member is an expert at a certain type of decision and knows exactly what information he needs in order to make a good decision. When expert audience members make a decision as a group, it is a common assumption that this process will be more effective in making an informed decision, as each expert audience member's decision criteria is considered and evaluated. Nevertheless, this is not the case. Expert audience members that decide as a group usually make an...

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