Thinking about your audience is one of the most important parts of influencing others and growing your influence over time.
Whether you are trying to influence people offline, online or both, identifying and then working with your audience will be key to your efforts.
Here are 5 important points that will help you in this area:
1- Learn to identify your audience in each situation
For your work you may have a particular key audience that you need to focus on. If so, spend time identifying them.
As well as this key audience, you will also have audiences that change all the time. For example in one day your audience might be:
- the audience for a speech you are giving
- your team, who you need to motivate in a meeting
- a potential client who you want to convince to buy from you
2- Research what they want, don’t just guess!
For any audience it isn’t enough to guess what they want. Any opportunity you have you need to ask them. Talk to and engage with your audience as much as you can- whether it is more formal ways like surveys or informal ways like having a cup of coffee with them.
3- Consider human emotions
Remember that influence is an art as well as a science. For example you might have a meeting with a prospective client. You have all your convincing arguments ready to go- and then they turn up and look really tired, or ill, or they clearly have something on their mind that is nothing to do with your meeting. Treat them like a human being- don’t just continue with your pre-prepared script. React to the situation and they- and your business- will thank you for it.
4- Build common ground
Whoever you are speaking to- whether one person or a conference venue full of thousands- you need to try to find ways to connect with them. How can you build common ground so that your audience likes and trusts you? If you can do it over time you might be able to build a tribe that supports your work.
5- Give them what they want
As much as possible, you need to try to give your audience what they want, once you have taken the time to find out what it is. If you can’t fulfil their needs it is possible that they are not actually your audience and you should direct them to someone else who can help them (they will appreciate your honesty and you will end up spending more time supporting the people you most want to help). Of course it is also possible that you are the right person to fulfil their needs but you need some more training or time to be able to do it effectively.
You need to train yourself to think about your audience all the time.