I’ve been developing a new program recently and as I was working on the outline, I realized I had a bunch of questions that I really needed the answers to, including:
- Which problems do I need to be focusing on?
- What content should I include… and what should I leave out?
- How can I maximize how helpful this program will be for my attendees?
I’m sad to say that it took me a few days to realize what now seems obvious:
The best way to find these answers was to ask my audience!
So I set out to talk to the people on my email list and in my communities. All told, I talked to 22 people! 10 probably would have been enough but I’m an “all-in” kinda girl!
While I was talking with them, I found myself wondering… Do YOU talk to your audience? Even if you’ve talked to them before, it’s always a good idea to check in periodically.
I’ve been doing this work for years and I’ve talked to my audience many times before, but I find it incredibly helpful to occasionally reach out and find out if anything has changed or if new things have popped up. With my new program in development, this was definitely the perfect time!
When I conduct these interviews, I’m looking for some specific things:
First - There’s a big difference between what I think they’re experiencing and what they’re actually experiencing. I’ll take their real-world descriptions over my educated guesses every time.
Second – how do they describe what they’re experiencing? I’m in the marketing industry, but my audience isn’t. I’ll do a better job of helping the people in my audience if I use their words rather than my own.
And third… I get to hear their stories! Nothing connects us better to the people in our world than listening to the stories they share. It’s how we can truly tune in to their perspective.
I’m hoping that this will inspire you to talk to your audience. To that end, I’d like to share with you three key questions that I ask during these conversations. You probably won’t be able to use them exactly, but they may spark ideas that will work for you.
Here are 3 key questions that I ask when I’m talking one-on-one with people in my audience:
- If your business was doing everything you wanted it to do, what does that end result look like?
This question is about future-casting. It’s asking: “Where are you headed?” It’s exciting to hear their vision. They relax; their eyes light up… it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
While this question may not work for you in its current form, consider something similar:
If you found the right (piece of jewelry / furniture / solution) that got you where you want to go, what does it look / feel / sound like?
- Backing up from that vision to the present moment: What are you struggling with right now?
This question intentionally comes second because I want them to think about their struggles with their future vision in mind.
- Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about?
This 3rd question is my favorite, by far! It’s important that we not let our questions or our assumptions box us in, and this question busts that box wide open! Sure, sometimes this question doesn’t generate a response; but sometimes, it presents me with answers that I would never have thought to go in search of!
One more thing... the best way to figure out which questions to ask your audience is to use a "starter pack" of questions. Start with your best bet... and then change up your questions to see if you can elicit better (i.e. more useful) answers. That's actually one of the reasons I did so many interviews. I wanted to give myself the room to find the right questions, which helped me get to more useful answers.