Improv skills lead to success

Knowing and Respecting Your Audience

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How many times have you heard a prominent entertainer say something like this:

I create art that I enjoy and trust that my audience will feel my passion and live my dream with me.

This sentiment sounds great, but it’s just another variation on the “law of attraction” crap made popular by the book The Secret and used by preachers who rely on their congregation buying into the “gospel of prosperity” to fund their own lifestyles.

For every successful entertainer, there are tens of thousands (at least) who create art they love and yet, somehow, can’t get their audiences to buy into what they’re doing. It’s not because you don’t love what you do enough — your audience just has different tastes or your work isn’t of sufficient quality for them to appreciate it. Remember, your audience decides whether they’re entertained, not you.

That last bit can be hard to admit, especially for individuals who are new to a profession. Regardless of whether you’re a speaker, an entertainer, a writer, or a lawyer, you’ll suffer through significant growing pains while you figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m not saying you should join the race to the bottom and crank out derivative drivel. Please, in the name of all that might or might not be holy, don’t. What you should do is put out the best product you can and listen intently to audience feedback. If they understand you want to improve and are putting forth your best effort, they’ll be much more likely to offer helpful advice instead of the normal platitudes.

And who knows — you might find someone who likes what you do and is willing to champion your work. It’s a numbers game, after all. The more work you do and the more you pay attention to and incorporate feedback from your audience, the more likely you are to entertain with art you love and connect with individuals who can help you.

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