We’re embarking on a three-part series exploration into How to Read Your Audience’s Mind. You’ve got the basics of modality analysis down and you’re thinking critically about how to tailor communications to your primary audience. Now how do you anticipate and address the modal preferences of secondary audiences–readers who think and talk very differently than the experts who need a detailed explanation of a process, product, idea, or innovation?
An (Advanced) Example of Modality Analysis in Action
Remember the white paper you wrote for an audience of engineers in Part 2 of this series? Let’s imagine that instead of writing for engineers, you need to communicate the new healthcare appointment scheduling process–a highly technical engineering innovation–to an audience of healthcare executives, providers, and nurse managers. These are the folks who ultimately decide whether to fund and use the new scheduling tool your engineer-collaborator created.
This rhetorical situation calls for more critical inquiry. Now you are analyzing the modalities–or ways of talking and thinking–not only of the engineers who designed the process, but also of the providers and nurses who will use it in their everyday work lives. Plus the healthcare executives who will foot the bill.
An expert business writer considers the modalities of all potential parties, and draws on a wider range of “modes” to reach more diverse audiences. This approach goes beyond recognizing a single audience’s preferred sensory modalities, and instead utilizes multiple sensory descriptions to ensure knowledge transfer among a wide range of readers.
The Result? Voodoo Rhetorical Magic!
Writers must hone their skill at “picking up on” and recognizing the discourse that circulates within different business contexts. Modality analysis is one method writers can use to craft texts and communications that successfully recognize audiences’ stances, feelings, and preferred ways of hearing or learning about a topic. In essence, it’s a way to read your audience’s minds. Voodoo rhetorical magic, you’re welcome.
Did you love our series on How to Read Your Audience’s Mind? Then you’ll enjoy How to Remember What You Read!