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You’re working like crazy to present your amazing message. . . . Is there any audience engagement?
The thing is, telling is not selling.
But you say, “Wait. I’m the Director of All Fine Things or the Data Analyst Extraordinaire, not a mere sales rep.”
Actually, you are a sales pro. Everyone is selling….ideas, raises, business cases, new hires, promotions, projects….
To get your message across, your audience has to engage in what you’re saying. This is beyond crafting a compelling message or delivery (which are BOTH critical!). It’s about audience involvement in what you’re saying.
What I did recently.
What made my recent talk about Managing Energy in Distributed Teams at the Charleston Digital Corridor, was not so much what I was telling them (as fascinating as that was). We had a highly-charged conversation with lots of questions answered and people in the audience sharing their experience with the topic. Everyone in the room was engaged.
Your audience today is much LESS patient (or more distracted) than it used to be. And while they may have a lot of general knowledge, they still need to digest the information you are giving them so they can easily implement it. If they do not, everyone has just wasted his time and energy.
Audience engagement means connection to you.Audience engagement means connection to you. Click To Tweet
Specifically the more you can get your audience engrossed (mentally, emotionally and physically) in your presentation, the stronger your connection with them. This is especially important the first time you present to a group.
One change I’ve made recently is to share very little information about myself in the intro. Basically 1 sentence. If they want to know more about you, they will google you. So in introducing yourself, share something they won’t find on Google.
You can read about this shift in more detail: The Google Effect here.
One excellent professional speaker I know, Bea Wray, has introduced herself and her panel by naming their “top failures”. That certainly got everyone’s attention.
No doubt the most important rule for energizing the audience, is to resist the temptation to run on and on about Your Thing in your excitement. Trust me, this is hard because, hey, it IS a Big Deal.