Are you a blogger, Tweeter, book author, INC writer, Instagrammer or public speaker where your words are used to acquire and engage followers, fans or customers? Maybe you are one of those leaders who communicates more personal insights to drive connections with your employees.

As an effective wordsmith you understand the power of delivering authentic information and you have undoubtedly struggled at times with how much reveal is too much. Given that your goal is to inform as opposed to shock, we all search for the appropriate line.

Finding the line between building authentic connections with people you work with or around and revealing so much information that you make those same people uncomfortable becomes increasingly difficult in this multi-platform world we operate within today.

When you find yourself confused as to what to say or not say, I want you to ask yourself a few questions that will serve as your guide.

Is the content you are about to write/speak relevant to your audience? As an effective information deliverer you know your audience better than anyone else. In fact you spend more time understanding their needs and how your content resonates with them then any other task. I write about startups, startup founders and startup community development. At times I share my personal challenges in any of those areas as a means to create empathy for your state of mind. Anything personal I share that is not directly related to those areas would be wrong.

Are the personal stories you share important to your audience? This one is a little tougher to answer. If you are like me, I have a pretty solid idea of who my audience is but I know a little less of what exactly inspires them. How do I figure out what they want? As a public speaker I try and read my audience during my talk. As a writer, I analyze relative traffic numbers to determine interests. But, the one thing I always do is ask them and listen. After a talk, people always come up, shake your hand and share some positive words. Here is a great time to ask a simple question--what part did they like the best? Do this often enough and you will know how they view you and where you are important to them. The same goes for readers. I get some email response from readers on just about every blog post and again, here is an opportunity to ask them what worked and what did not.

Your communication strategy is not about you--it is about your audience. Each time you share creates an opportunity to ask them how relevant and important your message is to them. Don't waste that opportunity! From this feedback you will always know where your authentic and where you shared too much.

Published on: Apr 21, 2016