“Audiences are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.”
We sometimes treat crowds and groups of people as though by congregating, they have lowered their average intelligence.
Think of the teacher who pitches his lesson at the student who gets the lowest marks in the class.
The politician who simplifies complex topics and reasoning so that it can be understood by her voters and constituency.
The musical that relies on songs the audience already knows and are proven, recognised hits.
The script that skirts provocative discussions or themes because the audience may not be able to handle them.
What if we were to approach those same groups in the opposite way and pitch our message and our art in a way that could possibly raise awareness and consciousness?
Could you be the teacher whose lessons appealed to the intellect at the top of the class and actually engaged those students to help tutor classmates who needed further instruction?
Be the leader who acknowledges that many issues are complicated and don’t have magic bullet solutions. Acknowledge that appealing to the better (rather than base) elements of our nature is the way to move issues forward in a way that unites our communities rather than dividing them.
Steal like an artist when it comes to creativity. Learn from the lessons of your heroes and then infuse your work with your own style and meaning to make it unique. The art that makes the greatest impact isn’t the copy of what has gone before. It’s the work that stands out as unique and changes the world allow itself to exist.
Use your writing to begin conversations that wouldn’t otherwise be shared in public. Give voice to those who are not being heard, shine light on what is happening in the shadows and challenge your audience’s perceptions and understanding.
Each time you address a group of people, whether as their leader or from within, ask yourself:
“What can I contribute to this situation that will make a positive impact?”
“How can I make these people happier, more confident, be reassured, gain greater understanding, feel more understood or raised up in some other way?”
“Instead of talking down to them and asking them to sink to the base level, how might I speak up in a way that inspire them to greater heights?”