Emily Dickinson often wrote poems from the point of view of other people and even animals.
Dickinson reminded a reader that the “I” in her poetry does not necessarily speak for the poet herself: “When I state myself, as the Representative of the Verse – it does not mean – me – but a supposed person” (emilydickinsonmuseum.org)
This explains much of the imaginative prose that's so prominent in her work.
And when you stop to think about it, it makes sense she took on these different viewpoints.
There's only so much you can be privy to when creating something strictly from your own perspective.
To gather insights beyond what you already know, you have to be willing to temporarily let go of yourself in attempt to be something else.
Practicing this before you sit down to create increases the chances that whoever you're creating for will be more receptive of the work.
If you're writing, position yourself as the reader.
If you're building a product, imagine yourself as the end user.
If you're a consultant, try to think like your client.
One approach to doing this may be asking questions like:
- If I was reading this, what type of intro would capture my attention?
- If I was trying to get to this page, what button would I most likely click?
- If I was struggling with a process, what type of questions would help me express the problem?
Suspending your thought patterns in attempt to understand somebody else's is ultimately how you deliver value.
This is how we help ordinary people create extraordinary things.