The term “Audience” is used here to mean the set of people expected at the encounter. The Audience could also be a “real” audience, in the sense of an audience at a seminar or training course.
Key data on my audience includes:
It is crucial to “put myself in the audience’s shoes”. I can do this by visualising my audience, or remembering a conversation that I have had with them, or perhaps by talking about them to someone. It doesn’t matter much, just so long as I focus outwards, towards my audience, rather than retreating inwards, absorbed in my own preoccupations.
To anticipate the audience’s state of mind, consider their:
These three simple points are crucial to client conversations, and they are discussed in the pages dealing with the SUBROUTINE tool.
If the encounter is particularly important and an in-depth analysis is desired, then there are many tools available for this (for example, a web search for Stakeholder Analysis will reveal many ways to “map” an audience). However, just as important as the accuracy of my analysis is the effort taken to get the audience in mind. Experience shows that this pays off handsomely when the client meeting takes place. I get in tune with my audience much more quickly since my neural equipment is already up and running the right program.
What if I don't have the time to do any real audience preparation? What if my call is in just two minutes?
The answer is simply to use those two minutes to form a mental picture of my audience – its Situation, Problems and Needs – and to push other preoccupations to the back of my mind.
More about MAP:
Get the Client Encounters of the Technical Kind book!