I love variety.

From beer to ice cream, books to sneakers, I always seem to find something to suit my particular taste.

Never has that been more underscored than by my recent visit to a local olive oil and vinegar shop.

I opened the doors and found my eyes greeted with gleaming rows of stainless steel containers holding all kinds of exotic olive oils, vinegars and gourmet truffle oils. Even better, I could sample whatever spoke to my tastebuds.

And so I did.

Which brought up a puzzling question about communication.

How do you truly connect with your audience in this micronized world we now live in?

After all, you might love New England IPAs while I gravitate to Oregon Coffee Stouts. You might prefer mystery novels while I read self-help books. Your political views might go middle-of-the-road while mine lean left.

So how do you make sure your communication is relevant? Here are three critical keys:

1.       First of all, you really need to understand your audience. In this data-centric world we live in, all kinds of research can be found with just a few Google searches. If for some reason you come up empty there, cost-efficient qualitative research can be conducted with a simple SurveyMonkey questionnaire.

2.       Second, talk to someone who is in your audience. Ask them about their fears and concerns. As I've said before, walk in their shoes. Read what they read. Taste what they taste. Feel what they feel.

3.       Third, while crafting your message, make sure you work a common thread through your words, from start to finish. Your research in steps one and two should already tell you what that thread is.

But if you're still stuck and not sure about the underpinnings of your audience, think of the brilliant American psychologist Abraham Maslow. As you know (and he proved more than 70 years ago), everyone wants to:

  •    Feel they have a sense of purpose
  •    Feel they are loved
  •    Feel they are protected

It's a safe bet that through a combination of these three steps, you will be able to communicate with passion and conviction. 

And your message undoubtedly will be memorable.

 Kind of like my tastings of the Black Truffle Oil and Champagne Vinegar.