A canoe without a paddle.
A boat without a sail.
A bow without an arrow.
One without the other isn’t much use.
It’s the same with storytelling. Without an audience you have no story.
Understanding your audience and their needs is therefore of paramount importance.
Who are you trying to talk to?
What are their goals?
What are they struggling with in their life?
Getting the answers to these questions will enable you to craft a story that has impact.
The very best stand up comedians know this implicitly. It’s why they will often ‘test’ out their new material at smaller venues.
They want to gauge the audience’s reaction. See if their initial hunch about what will resonate does so in reality.
Often the first few iterations of a joke fail to meet their expectations so the comedian has to work a little harder to figure out what his fans really want.
The other critical thing to bear in mind is the way you speak to your audience.
Choose your language and tone wisely. Avoid the temptation to be too fancy and come across as a boorish know-it-all.
Remember that good communicators make themselves look smart.
Great communicators make their audiences feel smart.