The power of storytelling has been long embraced by brands, but in recent years, it’s also become a buzzword for all kinds of communication. The art of storytelling is great for getting the point across to employees, customers and potential clients, whether in written or spoken forms of communication.
No matter the context, when you’re telling a story it’s important to know your audience. If you direct your message to the wrong group of people, your point may never land.
Why Is It Important To Know Your Audience?
Imagine you’re at your neighborhood multiplex. You’ve been waiting to watch the latest Avengers film for a long time, and this is your chance. You sit in your seat with a bucket of popcorn, put on your 3D glasses and discover that instead of the Avengers, you’re watching an Oscar-winning period piece set in 14th Century Japan.
Your crushing disappointment doesn’t mean the award-winning film is bad. It just isn’t what you wanted and so you weren’t receptive to the experience. In the same way, even the most effective communicator will miss the mark if they cannot understand the audience they’re addressing.
Storytelling content, style and delivery that considers the audience’s expectations, needs and interests will get managers the best results.
Let’s inspect how to know your target audience.
Understand Your Audience
Leaders in an organization can understand the audience by asking the following questions:
Who’s The Audience?
Managers may have different people to address in different situations. Is the audience made up of peers and senior management? Is it team members they supervise daily? Is it disgruntled clients? Is it the media? They must handle each audience differently.
What Do You Want To Share?
Depending on what the organization or leader wants to share, the tone of the communication will be different. For instance, a new product announcement will call for a very different form of address than a product recall for safety reasons. While it’s important to know your target audience, the context must always remain front and center.
What’s The Aim?
Communicate intending to make the most impact with a message. Is the need of the moment to inspire the team to greater heights when the chips are down on a challenging project? Or is it to soul search after something has gone wrong? The tone of the communication really comes into play here.
Once organizations start understanding your audience, they can meet larger business goals through effective communication.
Communicate With Impact
When a manager gets to know your audience in communication, they can design the appropriate way to reach them. Some of the most useful skills to master are:
The crux of all effective communication is grabbing attention and holding it, and in a professional context, that’s what storytelling is. If the speaker can make a point by drawing from actual life and connecting it to the listener’s experience with empathy, they can show that they understand the audience and care about them. Apart from the content itself, the manner of address, posture and voice modulation all come into play here.
Don’t think of visual aids in communication as boring, dry presentations where you read out what is on the slides. If you know your audience is likely to be engaged by more than a speech, introduce other forms of input such as pictures, charts or videos.
Talking is only one part of communication. One of the best ways to get to know your audience is to listen to them. If a presentation or talk has been effective, it should resonate with the audience. After a lively, engaging session, there’s likely to be formal and informal feedback. Games, questions and roleplay can be integrated where appropriate to make sure the discussion is a two-way street.
There are other ways to liven up a presentation as well. Don’t forget that keeping it short and relevant is always a good approach, no matter how much color you add.
Unleash The Power Of Presence
Organizations can help managers increase their impact in the workplace. Harappa’s Powerful Presence Program addresses how they can build their own personal brand. It also covers how to be responsive, persuasive and authentically empathetic: three essential components of connecting with an audience. The program looks at both the big picture with theory such as Jungian archetypes and the practical skills it takes to build presence with theater techniques. It’s ideal for senior professionals who interact with external stakeholders extensively, and who’d like to work toward a more magnetic, compelling presence.
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