andy@ideagroupatlanta.com | (404) 213-4416
07
FEB
2013

How To Hook An Audience – Secrets Of Engagement

Want to know the secrets of audience engagement? Start here! According to the Associated Press:

The average attention span of a human in 2013 – 8 seconds.

The average attention span of a gold fish – 9 seconds.

Our attention span is less than a goldfish!

I don’t make this stuff up folks. So we have to grab attention, hook an audience and get them engaged – fast. You can’t engage people if they aren’t paying attention.

You Only Have 30 Seconds

Are your events engaging? Is your marketing engaging? Do you actively and opening engage right out in public? What will the neighbors say??

Audience engagement, customer engagement, attendee engagement, employee engagement, engagement marketing, engagement lifecycle – it sounds like the options at a very bad speed dating party.

Engagement = A Relationship

Engaging someone isn’t an action, reaction or a programmed interaction. Engagement is a relationship with a person about a specific thing for a specific time. It’s based on their involvement, commitment and personalization. If engagement is a relationship then there’s a beginning, middle and, hopefully, no ending.  Who determines the degree of engagement? We don’t, the person does.

Be Engageable – Make People Care

I realize I’m risking the wrath of thousands of book authors, consultants and agencies but here is how you engage people.

Make Them Care – If people don’t care they won’t be engaged.

•  Tell them something they don’t know in the first 30 seconds. Remember the goldfish.
•  Make it personal and all about them. It doesn’t relate to 95% of the audience don’t say it.
•  No spectators. Talk to a group of individuals and give them a sense of control, purpose and involvement.
•  Provide information, return and feedback that are people-specific.
•  Put them in the middle of the relationship as a participant.
•  It’s better to be interesting than entertaining.
•  If you have a choice between talking and doing, let them do something.
•  Make it visual. People can’t read and listen at the same time.
•  Don’t confuse technology with involvement. Novelty only works once.
•  If it feels too short, it’s the right length.

Bait Your Hook With The Thing No One Can Resist

Even with all you do, someone is going to tune out because they don’t care. There is no such thing as 100% engagement -100% of the time. So you have to bait your hook with the thing people can ever resist. Be Human and Genuine.

Have some emotion, conflict and humor. Whoever said, “We don’t have problems, we have opportunities” was an idiot. Real people have problems and so do real organizations. Go for genuine reactions, accurate information and it’s okay to disagree. Drama is good so don’t be afraid to give them some.

In the end, to engage an audience – for marketing, events, training and communications – people need to:

Know who you are

Understand what you’re telling them

Care about you and your message

Discover common things you both share

Value what you’re telling them and see themselves in it

Want to know, understand and discover more – together

Hopefully I’ve kept you engaged long enough to read this short article. If you take the time to understand and do these things, you will see a big difference in the reaction and results you receive from your audiences.

That is unless they’re gold fish. You lost them at 9 seconds!

If you want to know more about how to grab attention and engage your customers, clients and audiences just click on CONTACT US and get in touch.

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About the Author
Andy Johnston is a multi-faceted communication professional who has a comfortable way of working with people. Andy is an Emmy Award winning communicator known for his energy, humor, creativity and his unique ability to discover the key results that must be generated – and then to develop ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. He has broad experience in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing, and events.One of the things Andy says often is, “How can we make it better?”
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