Offending an Audience

You have learned now that your writing isn’t just for you and that part of your role as a writer is to keep the audience in mind when you write. Some students struggle with this because it may feel like they just can’t say what they want to say when they have to write with their audience in mind. You may feel the same and feel like you want to share your ideas the way you want to share your ideas, no matter what an audience thinks.

However, you have to remember that, unless you’re keeping a personal journal, your writing is always for someone else as well. In fact, most of the time, you’re going to need to be highly aware of your audience’s needs when you are writing for college—and for work. Moreover, when you’re writing argumentative essays on controversial topics, if you want to be persuasive, you have to think about what is going to work well to be persuasive for your given audience. Will your audience listen to you if you offend them? Probably not.

With that in mind, you’ll want to make good rhetorical decisions when you write. This means, you have to consider what language will work for your audience, what kind of evidence will be persuasive, and how you can present that evidence in the most convincing manner possible.

If you offend your audience, your audience members won’t listen to what you have to say. While you may not be able to always convince your audience to see your side of an issue, you should at least be able to get them to listen to you and consider your points.

In the video below, you’ll see what happens when audience members are offended and what their reactions are and why. Seeing what happens for yourself may help you remember that, when you’re writing an argument, you are writing for someone else.

Video Transcript

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