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Storytelling in Design by Anna Dahlström

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Chapter 18 - Adapting your story to your audience

Intro: No audience is the same

Over my years as a UX designer, speaker and workshop holder I’ve learnt to adapt my story to the person or audience in question to ensure it resonates with them. I’ve learnt to read their expressions, gestures and responses and tailor both how I deliver what I’m talking about, but also what I focus on. At times it’s been really tricky. In the beginning when I started running workshops and do public speaking I tried to figure out what the audience was actually thinking. There would be that one person who looked utterly bored or sceptical and seeing them made me very self-conscious to the point where it threw me off my course and I lost my ground for a second or two. Sometimes it turned out that they were sceptical or found the topic too basic. Other times the people who looked the most disengaged were the ones that came up to me afterwards and expressed how much they’ve enjoyed it. Whilst we can tell a lot about how our audience look and behave and use it to our advantage, we also need to be mindful of not letting this impact us too much, or we risk free-flowing with the wind. 

Presenting work, or doing any form of public speaking, is something many people dread. Having all eyes on you, forgetting what you’re supposed to say, being vulnerable for questions you may not be able to answer, or simply that someone else might know more than you and put you on the spot, are all common reasons why people ...

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