Today I asked students to peruse a list of over 400 personal values and choose their top five. It occurs to us that our point of views and particular goals and values differ greatly from one another.
We assume everyone around us values, for example, punctuality or tidiness, when, in fact, their highest personal values might be spontaneity and creativity.
Talking about values helps us understand one another and inhabit other perspectives.
Imagining that your audience might hold different values matters deeply for effective writing and communication. We ask, then, what do I most value? What does my audience most value? How can I find out? How can I write in a way that discloses my values and acknowledges theirs? Do our values hold common ground?
We’re learning that writing works best when we understand both ourselves and our audiences.