Some audiences need different details in stories

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Some audiences want more details. Some just want the highlights and others might even want to ask follow-up questions.

I was reminded of this when I spoke to a group early in 2014.

When I talk to groups about storytelling, content marketing or social media I share the importance of stories. To show the power of stories, I ask everyone to share a story. Usually, people start connecting and start friendly conversations. Stories are powerful and build relationships after all.

At this presentation in May, one of the male participants shared the story surrounding a child being born in his family. He shared how the couple had tried for a while and finally was able to have a child. He even described in detail how he first met the new baby.

I told him “Congratulations. Thank you for sharing.” Of course, it was a great story – many stories are. He certainly felt good about it. Others in the room were smiling.  But did he share all relevant details for this group?

I turned to the rest of the group – many of them women and asked: “Who here is wondering what the baby’s gender is?”

He didn’t mention it, but of course, many in the group nodded yes.

“And who all really wants to know the baby’s weight and size?”

Again. Everyone!

Of course he did share this information immediately. But why wasn’t it shared in the first place? We discussed what just happened. Different people think about different details.

As we are sharing stories, it’s important to remember our audience. Sometimes, they want different details than the ones that we personally might care about. It’s always good to put ourselves in their shoes. Sometimes our audiences might tell us what details they missed and want to hear – like was the case here. Many times, however, we won’t get that feedback. When we do, following up can positively impact the relationship.

Picking the right details to share with audiences can make our connections stronger.