Story for some and not for everyone

Repeatedly, we make the mistake of following the traditional path to making a change happen by doing the following.

  1. We find the problem.
  2. We figure out a solution.
  3. We tell the story of the solution aka marketing our solutions.

Where in this process do we ask ourselves the question, “Who is the audience?” Now, you may turn around and say, the story is for our customers or our teams or our leaders.

Well, that is a superficial understanding of who the audience is. If we look carefully, we will realise that all we have is the audience category.  Some of us do a slightly better job by building personas, which includes demographics, geographical information and socio-economic classifications.

No doubt, with personas we have a better sense of who our audience is, but this information lacks what stories need the most – know how of the emotional state of the person we intend to serve. As a result, we must ask – what is the emotional state of the person we intend to serve?

By asking this question, we narrow our audience. Our audience will go from many to a few. Most storytellers are not comfortable serving a smaller, niche group; rather, they prefer to serve a larger audience and in doing so, may end up serving no one.

A story that serves a small viable audience is the one that sells, gets re-told and makes a change happen.

As a storyteller, we need to be comfortable serving a smaller audience and  telling others -this story is not for you!

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