Have you ever wondered, “Are people listening?” It’s a question we ask at parent meetings, giving a message to teenagers or a training with volunteers. It’s an important question to answer because if they aren’t engaged with what you are saying then you are just wasting time.
Engaging your audience isn’t just based on charisma and talent. You need to work at it and it takes a plan. To fully grab their focus you need to:
CHECK YOUR ENVIRONMENT AND EQUIPMENT
Even before you speak you could lose your audience. If your audience is too cold, or hot they will be focused on how they feel and not what you say. If they can’t hear you or see your presentation they’ll wonder, “What’s the point?”
Make sure your space is set up and test all of your equipment. Have a back up plan and don’t let something so simple sabotage your message. (More on this Here)
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE WELL
Before you open your mouth make sure you know your audience. That means recognizing what’s relevant in their life by Knowing What Owns Their Hearts.
As you prepare your talk, speech, or message use examples that mean something to them. Spend time understanding their schedules and the pressures they face. Use those examples to hook them and let them know, “You care what’s going on.” (More on this click HERE)
HAVE A BOTTOM LINE
If you are asking for people’s time and attention you have to make sure the sacrifice is worth it. That means giving them clarity on why they should listen to you.
Develop a bottom line by knowing the one thing you want them to know after your done speaking. Practice it, clarify it and make sure it’s repeated.
If you have to get obvious and say, “Basically, the bottom line is…” go ahead. Stating the obvious is better than dealing with a confused audience. (More on this HERE)
DISPLAY CONFIDENCE AND COMPETENCE
There is nothing more difficult than listening to someone who is unprepared. They stutter, ramble and waste time. To engage your audience you need to make sure you:
- Practice your material.
- Work out the grammar and flow of your message.
- Look at your body language and behavior.
If you look and act prepared people will not only be able to listen but buy-in to what you are saying. Work On It.
An engaged audience is one that will process what you say and put it into action. And while it’s up to them to choose whether or not to listen you don’t want to make the decision difficult. Practice what you do and have a plan. In the end you’ll find yourself creating movements.
Question: What other best practices would you add when it comes to engaging your audience? You can leave a comment by clicking here.