Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

First Name:
Last Name:
Tipsheet Archive
Randall's Resources
Whenever I speak or write, I often prepare extra "bonus" materials.
Enter the Resource Code to access this special content:
Resource Code:
Try this example Resource Code: eventplanning

Diverse Points

by Randall Craig on July 21, 2010

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: ,

Have you ever had the opportunity to listen to a speaker from another country, or from a culture that is very different than your own? If you have – and most people have – you may have noticed that they use different words than you. Perhaps you found them odd, but you were able to piece together what they were saying. Or were you?

Our backgrounds influence us in many ways when we communicate: the accent and the choice of words are the most obvious. What isn’t obvious is the emotional connection to the cultural, national, and religious narratives of the past. When an American hears “I have a dream”, this phrase evokes an entire world of emotional response. But when a Brazilian hears it, it may mean nothing. When a British World War II veteran hears “We will never surrender”, it evokes strong memories. But when a young Russian hears it, the emotional response may be blank. And similarly, phrases such as “let their be light” may be foreign to those who were not raised in a Judeo-Christian culture.

When we write or speak, we do so through the lense of our own backgrounds. Improving comprehension – and buy-in to your ideas – requires two key activities:

1) Unless we understand the lense of the speaker or writer, we may not understand the richness – or the nuance – of what they are saying; yet we will understand their words. Ask what they mean, or if there are any stories behind unfamiliar words.

2) To avoid alienating a diverse audience, you may need to reduce cultural, national, religious, and historical references. Or at least explain obvious ones in an unpatronizing way.

This week’s action plan: The global nature of the internet means that your Blog posts, Tweets, and YouTube videos may have an audience well beyond your “normal” target market. This week, when you write and speak, (and Tweet, and Video) assume that your audience does NOT have knowledge of your history, culture, national, or religious background.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

Previous post:

Next post: