How to Put Yourself in the Seat of Your Audience

Creating work that will resonate with your audience starts with a deep understanding of who they are. This is somewhat easy when you ARE the audience you are creating for, because you know what you need, like, or would want to see… But what about when you AREN’T?

This is one of the bigger challenges in an agency environment when your team is representing many different companies, looking to create work that resonates with many different audiences.

We use the line “sit in the seat of the audience.”

This helps us remember that we are not just creating work WE like; we are creating a work that is meant for someone else — someone that may be very different from us.

So how can you go about getting yourself in “the seat?”

Well, lucky for us, we can pull from one of the most proven methods for getting into the mindset of someone else: acting.

There are many acting techniques out there, but most professionals agree that they are all versions of, or stem from, Konstantin Stanislavski’s Seven Questions. Stanislavski is often referred to as the father of modern acting and he taught this Seven Question method for helping students get into character. These same questions can really aid in helping you sit in the seat of your audience:

1. Who am I?

Am I a recent college grad? Married with 3 kids? A single professional? What do I like/dislike? What is happening or has happened in my life to put me in the place I am? Visualize a face.

2. Where am I?

Am I at work? Am I at home? On the go? On my phone or tablet? Visualize the physical environment you are in.

3. What time is it?

Is it likely mid-day, or possibly late afternoon when energy is low? Is it in the evening? How does that impact the way I’ll receive the message?

4. What do I want?

What is my ideal outcome as a result of this product/service/message?

5. Why do I want it?

Will this outcome help me or others? Why is that important to me?

6. How will I get what I want?

What do I need to do? Do I buy, complete a form, or pick up the phone?

7. What must I overcome to get what I want?

What fears must I address? What do I need to know to trust them?

Next time you sit down to create something for your audience, start by asking yourself these 7 questions and see if they don’t help you “get into character” or as we like to say “sit in the seat.”

Kraig Guffey