How often have you found yourself in one of these three situations:

1. You attend a presentation and discover that the speaker hasn’t really customized the content for your particular needs…
2. You’re in a meeting and feel like the information being shared isn’t as relevant as you had expected it would be…
3. You meet someone for the first time and when that person says what they do it sounds pretty scripted, like it’s been said innumerable times before in the exact same manner…

Each of these three examples occurs more often than it should and is the result of the same error which is believing that communication is a one size fits all. But nothing could be further from the truth!

As a Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist since 1994, I repeatedly tell my clients and workshop audiences that customization is the key to effective communication. Yes, I realize it takes time to understand your listener(s) but when you take this step, it’s a solid investment. The reason it’s a worthwhile endeavor is that when you tailor your message to the people in front of you or on the phone, it’s a form of being prepared, showing respect and forming a solid business relationship. As a result you greatly increase the potential to connect with others and earn their commitment to you.

So how is this done, you ask.

Here are 5 ideas to get you started:
1. Conduct an Internet search on the person or people with whom you’re interacting to see what you can learn in advance and what you may have in common (e.g. LinkedIn).
2. Ensure you know the correct job roles of the people with whom you’ll be meeting (e.g. CEO, Director of Sales, Human Resources Manager).
3. Learn some of the demographics of your audience (if you’re the speaker) such as: age range, gender breakdown, educational level, approximate years of experience in their industry.
4. Given the aforementioned, anticipate approximately five questions that may be posed so you’re not surprised.
5. Practice your responses to the anticipated questions so you sound your best.

This is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd by realizing each audience is unique which means your communication definitely needs to NOT be one size fits all.