Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ology is one of my favorite design books. And this bit is particularly great: seven questions to help understand your target audience. Though intended as a guide for your design process, I think this touches something very human and applies not just to information architecture and design, but to political advocacy as well.
I’ve shamelessly adapted a version of this for a talk on design and advocacy, but here’s the raw source:
Seven Questions to Knowing Your Audience
“The audience didn’t come to see you, they came to see what you can do for them. If you fill out this audience persona slide, it will give you insights into how to present in a way that will resonate with your audience.
- What are they like?
Demographics and psychographics are a great start, but connecting with your audience means understanding them on a personal level. Take a walk in their shoes and describe what their life
looks like each day.
- Why are they here?
What do they think they’re going to get out of this presentation? Why did they come to hear you? Are they willing participants or mandatory attendees? This is also a bit of a situation analysis.
- What keeps them up at night?
Everyone has a fear, a pain point, a thorn in the side. Let your audience know you empathize—and offer a solution.
- How can you solve their problem?
What’s in it for the audience? How are you going to make their lives better?
- What do you want them to do?
Answer the question “so what?” Make sure there’s clear action for your audience to take.
- How might they resist?
People vary in how they receive information. This can include the set up of the room to the availability of materials after the presentation. Give the audience what they want, how they want it.
- How can you best reach them?
What will keep them from adopting your message and carrying out your call to action?
You can also download it from Duarte Design as a PowerPoint slide.