This post quite simply is about (as the title says) engaging an audience before you ever speak to them.
Now I want to start this out by saying I don’t go to conferences, I’m no longer in college (I graduated), I work for a small business so we don’t bring in people to talk to us and while I’ve listened to some I don’t listen to too many webinars.
I say this because maybe what I’m calling for is already being done on a large scale, but I don’t think it is.
So what am I talking about when I say Pre-engaging an audience?
I’m talking about the idea that when you’re putting together a presentation, talk or lecture do you ask the audience questions before you’ve even started the session?
Now part of this is taken care of by clearly defining what you’re going to talk about in the description, sylubus, etc. Another possibility is to just react to your audience on the fly. However wouldn’t it be better when you’re preparing a presentation to have an idea what your audience knows so you can tailor your presentation to that?
If I’m giving a presentation on social media wouldn’t it be good to know how many participants use each of the tools (twitter, blogging, etc) I’m going to talk about? If I’m giving a talk to a class wouldn’t I want to know if they understood the previous class?
If only there were tools to do that like i dunno e-mail and online survey tools that we could reach people with before we actually give our presentations.
Ah yes there are those tools and many more. So while I hear tons of ways to engage an audience (or participants if you prefer that term) while you’re speaking to them, if you’re not engaging them before you meet them you’re missing out on a golden opportunity.
You wouldn’t go into an interview blind, why do it for a presentation?