Speak their language – Tailor your message!


Tailoring your message is an essential project management tool that for some comes natural, but can prove to be a difficult task for others. We’ve all been in ‘business meetings’ that have been hijacked by an IT person who goes way too in depth on programming logic, database design, and architecture plans. On the flip side, I’m sure many of us have also been in ‘IT meetings’ where a business stake holder goes way to in depth on financial trending, changes in legislation, and marketing initiatives.


While these people meant well, what they missed out on was the fact that you must tailor your message to your audience. This is particularly important for Data Governance, because you will be bridging the gap between the business and IT, not widening it. For your key messages, such as the value proposition and scope of the program, you must be able to explain it clearly to both IT and Business in terms that they not only understand (because they’ll likely understand it any way you say it), but also tailor it to their wants, needs, and activities that they deal with on a daily basis. This helps gets buy-in and establishes you as someone on ‘their side’.


Here is a little exercise:
1. Write down an elevator speech for all of your key messages. If you don’t have any, you can find tips on the Data Governance Elevator Speeches here. If you are stuck on what your key messages are, just start by providing a short answer for each of these questions: “What is Data Governance?” “What is your scope?” “What is the benefit of Data Governance?”

2. Now, put your answers in the left side of a chart with 5 columns. Each answer should be in its own row.

3. Across the top of the last four columns, title them “IT Worker”, “IT Exec”, “Biz Worker”, “Biz Exec”.

4. You probably know what to do now. Rewrite your elevator speech in the columns to the right of them, but this time tailor the message to the specific audience that the column pertains to.

5. Once you have done that for all of your messages swoop back to your first column and title it “Mixed Audience”. Go back down that column, and rewrite your original elevator speeches so that they are targeted towards a mixed audience of IT and Business workers and Execs.

6.  Use these!

I hope that helps!

  1. October 27th, 2008 at 17:52 | #1

    This is great info to know.

  1. December 5th, 2007 at 08:10 | #1