- The Beginning – Engage your Audience to Make a Personal Connection
Learn how to engage your audience in the beginning. Think of it like first impressions. If you don’t get them now, how do you expect to get them later? But to engage them, you must make a personal connection with them. This is where you know your audience. You understand how they think and what motivates them. You must make them feel like they understand the problem because they have experienced it personally.
Using my MBA example, my classmates were all professionals with work experience and we were all around the same age. Our project was to present new technology in our IT module. This technology allowed you to use an application on your computer to access your home utilities to control turning off and on your lights. While it’s the norm today, it was pretty cool back then.
As I present the problem, I could have easily said, wouldn’t it be cool to not be at home but able to access your lights and turn them off or on, any time from anywhere? You could be doing it for safety reasons, security reasons or just for convenience. This would have been the easy way to present the problem but I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to connect with them.
Two things I had to keep in mind:
- First, I know that no on have ever used this technology before so they didn’t have a personal experience using it and understanding the pros and cons of it.
- Second, most everyone in the audience grew up watching American cartoons. At this point, you are asking, what do cartoons have to do with technology?
As I dimmed the lights, I started my introduction with “Remember back in the day….” I then started with a video clip of the Jetson’s Introduction.. I let it play for about 30 seconds. After the clips stopped, I asked the crowd, how many of you remember the Jetson’s, the family of the future? This helped me get the audience’s curiosity and engaged them. I then proceeded to talk about what we thought about the future growing up and how the Jetson’s help paint the future for us. This included some of the technology today that was seen on the cartoon and technology we still do not have today. I was able to connect with the audience personally as each person has their own version of the technology they thought was cool.
It is at this point that I begin to talk about the problem. I point out one technology I wished we had today was the ability to control our home utilities online from anywhere.
The goal here is to not only help them understand what the problem is but present it in such a way that they understand and feel the same problem you do.