How to Put Your Audience as the Main Story Character

Why should your audience care?

That’s the question you need to answer when you’re defining what role your audience is playing in the story. How your character deals with problems as they attempt to achieve their goals will remind your audience of their own obstacles. Create the right context that people can relate to and you will give them a reason to care about your presentation.

Every story revolves around the main character – the centre of attention. In your case when you’re doing a presentation, your audience should be the centre of attention. Тhey are the hero, not you, your brand, or anyone else.

So, what do you do if you have no idea how to build a story that revolves around your audience as the main character?

Simple, start by researching them and using what you know to get in their shoes. Then, define the struggles your solution offers to help with and you will have enough to create the right setup to catch their attention and curiosity.

What does your audience care about the most

You need to build your story around the main character to define who is the driving force behind the narrative you want to make your audience care about. This is the part where you need to factor in the emotional state, attitude, perspective, viewpoints, and other character details that build up your audience.

For example…

Imagine that you have to deliver an important presentation that introduces a new productivity solution to your entire department. The goal is to improve the workflow inside your organization so that everyone can achieve better results at their work without losing too much time in meaningless tasks.

You know the people in the department because you are working with them every day. What do you need to take in mind when preparing the story of your talk?

Emotional state – The way they feel about their work and what troubles them to be extra productive in reaching their goals. 

Attitude – What’s their attitude towards changing their daily routine even if it’s going to lead to better results for them?

Perspective – Are they even interested in increasing their productivity in the context you are planning to present, or do they have other perspectives to pursue?

Viewpoints – What do they think of the entire department workflow in general and do they have an opinion on what can be changed or improved?

These are all key details you need to think about when deciding what angle you are going to use for building your presentation. Planned and presented well, you will be on your way to convince your colleagues that their daily lives are going to be better if they adopt your idea and solution.

What’s their common goal

Once you’ve identified their end goal and how strong they feel about reaching it, then you dig into demographic data, personal interests and hobbies, professional background, daily routine, and even cultural aspects you can use to bring them closer.

For example…

You know that everyone in your department has their own priorities and things they focus on and this is something that’s directly connected to the audience’s common goal.

Actions – What’s the audience actually doing right now that can be changed or improved? You should be familiar with the department’s current workflow to know how to optimize it.

Targets – What are the requirements they have and what are they reaching for on a daily basis that you can help them relieve by implementing that new solution in their workflow?

Goals – This is all about the big picture. What are the end goals that your audience wants to achieve? Grow the department? Get promoted? Achieve growth in specific business metrics?

As the presenter, you have to put all of these together when building up the character development throughout your story. This way you will deliver a presentation that visualizes how people’s goals will be much easier to achieve after adopting the proposed solution because it’s based on their routine, goals, and priorities.

What’s the emotional experience they’re craving

The common goal of your audience will be directly tied to the main outcome of what your product, service, idea is all about. You’re there to merely guide them through the journey of how they overcome the obstacles ahead of them and reach the final goal.

The final part of your character is about what they will feel and what they will become after their end goal is reached. This is where you’re digging into the emotional value of what your solution will bring to your audience. That’s why you need to know their intent for achieving that goal.

Motive – Why is that goal so important to your audience. You need to define why accepting your idea is something they should want to do 

Probably, it’s the relief coming from finally unloading a ton of unnecessary work and gain the headspace to focus on achieving their primary goals? Maybe it’s the fact that with all that saved time they will be able to spend it with their families instead?

Why do you need all of that?

The common goal of your audience and how they will feel when they achieve it are the two main pillars of building the character they will identify with. After you know all of those factors – you will know the exact persona your story should relate to.