Only 14% of all American adults (18+ years) do not use a cell phone or the Internet. This statistic from a 2011 Pew Research study includes the elderly, the homeless, the mentally and physically challenged…all American adults 18 years old and older. Staggering.
With all of the competition for attention in today’s environment – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Texting, Talking Ads, Video, and T.V. just to name a few – engaging someone for more than a few seconds is becoming more and more difficult. So how do you create the “You had me at hello” effect?
Here are some tips to help you capture your audience’s attention and keep them engaged until the very end.
1. Relevant content – People just don’t have the patience for content that doesn’t relate to them personally. Think about your audience and ask yourself the questions, “So what? Who cares?”
2. Ask a question – What’s the purpose of asking a question? It interrupts the way your audience is receiving your message. Instead of just being stuck in receiving mode, they have to engage by thinking of an answer.
3. Make it personal – So much information today is general. When you make it personal, it makes it more relevant (back to the first point). So whether you are telling a personal story or asking your audience a question that relates to their life – make it personal and make it memorable.
4. Ask for a volunteer – this is a great technique when you have a live audience. It engages people on so many different levels. Give it a try and watch the magic.
5. Use a demonstration – You can do this with live audiences or in videos. It adds realism and credibility to what you are saying. Remember the expression, “Seeing is believing.”?
6. Show a compelling visual image – How many of us will ever forget the image of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center? Enough said.
7. Silence – Have you heard the saying “silence speaks volumes”? For you parents out there, this works great with teenagers. Our world is so seldom silent these days that when you pause for a few seconds people really notice.
8. Reveal a startling statistic – I used this at the beginning of this blog. Hopefully it got you thinking right away about the adults you know and if they used a phone or the Internet.
9. Poll your audience – Whether you’re speaking publicly or writing a social media post, this one works. People love to give their opinion about anything and everything. Just keep it simple and you’ll get them talking.
10. Repeat a word or phrase – Remember when you were in school and your teacher would repeat a phrase and you would think, “Oh I need to write this down.”? Well, it works even when you aren’t in school.
There are lots more ways to engage your audience. Some work better than others, depending on the form of communication. Tell us your favorite way to engage your audience. Do you have a favorite not mentioned here?