Answer this question and you begin to dig deeper into the heart and mind of the person you’re writing to. You begin to see, feel and understand that person like they were sitting across the table from you. Demographics are always a good starting point but definitely no end in itself if you’re genuine about effective communication. It’s in the psychographics that you acquire that precious grain of insight. The process of recognising the conflict of dominance between head and heart, then calibrating your communication accordingly is one of the essential means of connecting with your audience and engaging their attention. Now I have further evidence of the importance of being empathetic thanks to renowned social researcher and one of Australia’s great thinkers, Hugh Mackay. In his new book book, What Makes Us Tick? he lists and describes ten desires that drive us and, more often than not, influence us unconsciously. Here’s a brief summary of the 10 desires:
1. The desire to be taken seriously (to be noticed and heard).
2. The desire to find one’s place in the world (otherwise we feel restless).
3. The desire to have something to believe in (to help us make sense of things).
4. The desire to connect with each other, ourselves, and nature.
5. The desire to be useful.
6. The desire to belong (we need to connect and belong to groups of other people, which he refers to as “herds” of 5 to 8 people).
7. The desire for more.
8. The desire for control.
9. The desire for something to happen (it makes life interesting).
10. The desire for love and to be loved (love gives us self-respect, increases our capacity for empathy with others and enhances personal serenity).
Just by having these ten valuable insights should enable you to visualize your target audience and empathise, but I recommend you have a listen to Hugh Mackay first. It’s 53 minutes so make yourself a coffee, sit back and discover what makes you, me and everybody else tick.