By Rachel Schwarz

I volunteer as an advisor for a high school youth group. This weekend, the new freshmen members joined “my” chapter. While the kids were getting to know each other, I held a meeting for all of the parents.

I was struck at the contrasting techniques that the youth group leaders took at educating the new members compared to the way I approached the parents.

The young leaders yelled, screamed and cheered our new recruits!

Here’s how I presented the same information to the moms and dads. I calmly went over an agenda including the set-up of the youth group, the calendar of events, and ways to stay in touch via e-mail/cell phones.

At the end of the afternoon, all of the parents and kids left feeling comfortable in the new environment and excited about the future. However, it was a blatant example of how different audiences require specific tailoring in order to be effective.

Remember to keep in mind that the way you present your message has a substantial effect on how it will be received. Had I screamed to the parents while the youth leaders handed out an organized agenda to their peers – we’d have a youth group mutiny! Adapt your message to your audience, and you will be much more influential and persuasive!

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