Stepping into the audiences’ mind…Audience-Centric

I was hanging out on Twitter the other day chatting with a few friends, and the conversation kept towards audience. Well, trying to fully get into the mind(s) of the audience(s), to fully understand their view-point. Why do we do this as communicators, so we  can clearly communicate our message. I do this mainly because I cannot produce any piece of creative for a “client” until I fully understand the audience.

I look at the communication relationship with the audience like ballroom dancing. You know, you will have people watching your every move, so you have to be in complete rhythm  with your dancing partner. You have to know the next steps, the next twist, the next move and you have to do this completely anticipating your partners movements. In-order to do so…it takes practice, communication, and trust. To eloquently dance across the floor with complete fluid movement, you have to know the person you are dancing with…it is a relationship.

When I create a presentation, a video, a graphic, or any piece of creative…I have to know my audience. I have to completely feel that I am seeing their respective view-point. This has to be done in-order to create a message that is effective and efficient. I have to know what makes them tick, what makes them look away, what engages, and what distracts. It is more than demographics and hard numbers, it is the subjective pieces of information the defines the passion behind their inner being.

This takes time and research. Many times (to begin the dance), I just get out an ole piece of paper and draw a simple triangle…a perfect triangle. You know, a triangle that has equal lengths on all three sides thus creating equal angles. At each point I write three different words: Audience, Purpose, and Delivery. In the center of the triangle, I write Context. I do this each time I begin a project. I define the audience(s), the purpose behind the project, and the method(s) the message will be delivered.  From this, I write a mission statement that yields context. By defining the purpose and delivery of each piece of communication, it takes us closer to understanding the audience and how/why we are communicating the message.

Each piece of communication is delivered on some platform whether via print, web, video, email, radio, etc. But this is the theatre for our performance. Our audience(s) are sitting in the seats. The goal is to engage the audience with the piece of communication. We want them to dance with us! We want them to forget their peripheral vision and interact with the message.

Before we can dance with our audience, engage them with the message, we must know them! We must be able to look through their eyes, hear with their ears, feel their tendencies, and understand their pre-dispositions.