Chapter 3. Get to Know the Hero

How Do You Resonate with These Folks?

The instructions your high school speech teacher gave you to picture the audience in their underwear is now officially obsolete. Instead, you need to picture them all in colorful stockings and tunics with superhero emblems—because these are the heroes charged with carrying your big idea to fruition.

It's important to know what makes your audience tick in order to connect with them. So how do you get to know them and really understand what their lives are like? What makes them laugh? What makes them cry? What unites them? What incites them? What is it that makes them deserve to win in life? It's important to figure this out because according to the former AT&T presentation research manager, Ken Haemer, "designing a presentation without an audience in mind is like writing a love letter and addressing it 'to whom it may concern.' "[21] This section will help you create empathy for your audience by brainstorming the attributes of the hero and mentor archetypes.

Though your heroes might be lumped together in a room, you shouldn't view them as a homogeneous blob. Instead of thinking about the audience as a unified clump when preparing your presentation, imagine them as a line of individuals waiting to have face-to-face conversations with you. You want to make each person feel like you're having a personal exchange with him or her; it will help you speak in a conversational tone, which will keep them interested. People ...

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