In the blogging world, we talk a lot about engaging our audience (Twitter, fan pages, comment threads) and how that’s going to make for a more rewarding experience for both you and the reader. How can you take the ideas of reaching out to an audience with written words, and make them feel the same closeness with spoken word?
Many times when you’re dealing with a conference call, you’re going to be speaking to people who may not necessarily want to be there, but have to be there. How do you engage an audience that isn’t really keen to listening to you right now?
Games. Conferences that involve training are easy. Anything can be more fun if competition is thrown into the mix so set up a contest for your teams and include it as part of the invitation. It can be a simple game, but it’s best to make it tie into your conference topic somehow. There’s always a way to start a game and have some fun, even if it is business. For example, if your conference is a safety meeting, find or take a picture that has a lot of unsafe situations, and have your different participants figure out the things in the picture that are unsafe. The person who gets the most, gets to leave an hour early on a Friday.
Ask Questions. If you’re having a recurring conference, you should always leave your participants with something to think about between the last conference and the one now. It can be any kind of question that will help to lead you into the next conference. Any time you can make people think at the very end, you’ll keep them wanting more.
Be passionate. You’re a part of the company you are with for a reason. No matter what the conference topic is about, you should believe in it with your full heart, no hesitation or second guessing allowed. When you speak, speak emphatically. Explain to your participants why this is an important topic and how it affects them. If you want your team to get behind what you’re talking about, you will first have to prove to them that you are.
Humor, passion, and questions are used on many blogs to keep the audience excited about the topic at hand.
How do you keep your audience engaged on a conference?