Finding an Audience to Test-out Stories
How do I find the right target audience to test-out my stories before taking them to the main stage?
It is not always possible or practical to test-out a story in front of a large audience. For this reason, try out 3 practical alternatives: family & friends, social clubs and open mics. The first two options are considered safe-to-fly zones with minimum risk, while the third option, is a “fly-at-own risk zone.”
Family & Friends:
They are part of your captured audience. You can test your stories on them. One trick. Don’t tell them at the start you are testing. Ideally, you should only inform after you ‘ve gotten some feedback. Don’t expect any applause, let alone a standing ovation. Pay close attention to eyes and body response.
Beware that friends and family can also be your harsh critics. Some may use it as this critique to get even, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Have you ever heard about an organization called Toastmasters? It promotes public speaking and leadership. Since1924, it has been empowering its membership in several countries of the world. Clubs consist of about 20- 50 members who meet weekly or monthly to support each other grow.
Having been a member for about 8 years, I believe you can test out new stories there and get decent feedback from experienced members.
Open Mics – No-Fly or Fly-at-Own Risk Zone
In most cities worldwide, there are weekly “open mics,” venues that host local talent shows for amateurs and professionals to try-out new material. It differs from city to city, however, such events allow performers who range from poets, comedians, storytellers, singers, guitarist, etc to perform for free.
Each performer is given about 5 minutes to try out new material. By the way, open-mics may have hecklers. Don’t let this deter you. It is not a regular feature. Most major cities of the world have such venues. If you can conquer an open-mic you ‘d do very well in a corporate setting.
In summary, I believe that you can get a bit creative in testing your stories. Once they are well prepared, sneak them into social conversations with friends, family, at social clubs or open-mics. On-set-tell!