Do You Know What Your Audience Wants From Your Story?

I have sat around many conference tables in my 26 year career. Much of that time was spent talking about how the proverbial “we” were going to get some idea across to some people we were hoping would spend time and money with us. Over the years I’ve noticed an alarming trend. “We” tend to spend 95% of the time talking about what we want to say, and just 5 percent of the time talking about who was going to hear it.

Step one for anyone seeking to build a business narrative, organizational story or even a simple message is this: Answer how well you know your audience.

In the book Transformational Speaking, author Gail Larsen brilliantly offers one way to categorize an audience, if your goal is to move them into action (versus just entertain or educate).

The four buckets:

  1. Is your audience seeking information? Is your audience moved by data? Do they just not know much about your topic and they want to know more?
  2. Is your audience seeking insight? Are they just looking for what to do? Are they looking for someone to lead the way?
  3. Is your audience seeking to expand their imagination? Are they seeking to make something new happen?
  4. Is your audience seeking to be illuminated?  Are they seeking to be changed at a deep level? Do they want to be moved?

By knowing where you audience falls in the above four categories. you may now set the tone that gives them exactly what they want. And, when they get what they way you probably will, too.

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