Filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Inception, the Batman trilogy, Interstellar) had this response recently when asked how he thinks of the audience when creating films:
“Every stage in the process, I try to be the audience,” he answered. “I don’t think of the audience as someone else. We’re all a part of the audience.”
I’m in the process of putting together a presentation for an upcoming conference, and I’m stuck. Well, not really stuck. I just haven’t started.
I’ve been futzing around in my mind with what I want to say and coming up with little that excites me.
But who cares what I want to say? Instead, I should focus on the audience. What could I offer that would awaken possibility in them and send them out better and happier for our time together? If I were in the audience, what would delight and fascinate and challenge me?
Make the audience the hero of the story. It’s not about you. You’re not the focus, even though it’s you standing on stage. The point is the potential transformation and the heroic potential of those in the room that you’re serving.
Put yourself in the audience. Be the audience. And see if that unsticks you.