In the past, I’ve written about how you can start a story library and how you can pick the right story for the moment. Today, I want to share with you a method to customize your story for your audience while you’re telling them and offer you a free Audience Analysis Worksheet that identifies the adjustments you can make to customize your story and connect with people.
The good news is that we are all always adjusting our stories. Most likely, we started in high school. The version of “what did you do last night” you told your parents probably wasn’t the same one you told your best friends or people you wanted to impress.
So, don’t worry, you’ve got this.
Customizing your story is a must if you want to genuinely connect with your audience. A customized story will bring them into a familiar space where they can be receptive and connect with you more personally. You’re also demonstrating that your connection isn’t only in the things you say, but in the way you understand where your audience is coming from.
Ask the Right Questions
At this point, you might be worried about having to relearn your story for every audience. That isn’t necessary. In fact, when it comes to telling personal stories, I advise against memorizing your stories. Instead, use the story bones technique to remember the highlights. Stories are alive and every retelling helps you discover a new gem hiding in your story.
You should think about at least three things when you’re analyzing your audience.
First, you want to think about the kind of relationship you have or want to build with these folks. Is it personal or professional or something in between?
Second, you’ll want to think about your audience’s level of knowledge, whether it’s high or low. This may not matter if you’re talking about your vacation mishaps or triumphs, but it will matter when you’re talking to a technophile or technophobe about the trials and tribulations of downloading data from your Garmin. This actually happened to me, I was in the audience as a technophobe.
Third is the setting, is it formal or informal? Put briefly, the story you tell over a meal with wine pairings is different than the story you tell over a meal from the drive-through window. Being too formal over paper-wrapped food is as bad as being informal over a cheese course.
Analyze your Audience!
I’ve created a free Audience Analysis Worksheet you can download and keep to remind you of the things that you need to think about and how you can adjust your story for every audience. Go ahead and get yourself a copy now!