You, the TD Pro
The makers of the tricycle probably didn't do a very good job figuring out who Jake was. Ask some questions of your audience, or someone who knows your audience well. Questions that reveal their:
- Current circumstances
- Reactions to surroundings
- Favorite things to do in their spare time
Answers to these questions begin to reveal possible characters. For example, if my audience:
- Values quality work
- Works for a company entering a new international market
- Enjoys stability, not variety
- Fears losing their job to overseas
- Struggles to adapt to change
- Likes to hang out with their families, play baseball and go to church in their spare time
Characters start coming to mind. Perhaps a proud foreman who is embarrassed that he doesn't understand a new process. A perfectionist operator whose quality scores are suffering because she's challenged by a new way of doing things. The more information you have about the audience, the easier it will be to create relatable characters.
What is it that stakeholders want the audience to do? Likely, you're doing a lot better job than the tricycle company. You've conducted extensive interviews to find out if training is the answer. You've met with subject matter experts and created a detailed list of actions that must be performed to reach the goals of making a business impact. As you compose the action list:
- Use strong, positive action verbs (Avoid Avoid...)
- Put the actions in a logical order, such as an outline
- Ask questions of stakeholders that unearth real stories that are happening in the workplace
You're already do all of this, right? What you may not have realized is that you've just outlined the conflict for your story.
You, the storyteller
If I were to write a story premise about the comic above and apply it to what I'd like you to do after reading this post, I'd say it was a story about a tricycle company who struggled to know who their audience was and had a hard time writing instructions in a way that their customers could make sense of their product's assembly.
Do you see the story here? It's a metaphor. You're the tricycle company! And here's what I'd like you to do:
- Know your audience and you'll know who your relatable characters should be
- Know what you want them to do and put the characters in direct, strong conflict with those actions