How To Keep Your Audience Engaged

Keeping your audience engaged during your workshop, seminar, webinar or online program is one of the most critical things that you need to master if you're going to learn how to leverage your time doing one to many style delivery. But the question then becomes:

"How do I actually keep my audience members engaged? 

What is the process that allows me to have people sitting literally on the edge of their seats, hanging off every word i'm saying... doing nothing other than putting all of their awareness and their attention right into the present moment as I continue to share my information?"

So what is the process behind that? What is actually going on biologically, scientifically, and metaphorically to ensure that you are sitting on the edge of your seats?

Today I'd like to explain how that actually works.

When we are teaching information of any description, we have to go all the way back to when we were a kid.

Story-Telling

The fact is, I don't know if you can recall it or not, but there was a time in your life potentially where you were read bedtime stories, and at the end of every one of those bedtime stories, if you ask a child what the very next words that come out of their mouth are when that story finishes, it's simply this:

"Read it again, read it again," or, "Tell me another one. I want another story."

Deep, deep down in the recesses of our mind, in very specific parts of our brain, there's a little child inside of us that just loves to hear stories. Now, if those stories are structured in a way that we get value from a content perspective but we also enjoy the story itself, that is actually what keeps engagement.

Bonding

The reason story telling is so effective is because when you tell a story to somebody and you clearly describe the characters in the story, as in you bring those characters to life inside that person's imagination, our brain can't help but produce small doses of something called Oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a bonding chemical that is released in significant amounts for mothers during the pregnancy stages and certainly after the child has been born. Oxytocin allows us to bond with things.

So if Oxytocin allows us to bond with things, then if I'm telling stories on stage and you're releasing small amounts of Oxytocin, then the good news is you are bonding to what I am saying. Now what does that really mean? It means you're paying close attention to what is being said.

The more you're able to release a bonding chemical while you're learning information, the good news is the more that information sticks. Think of Oxytocin as superglue to information inside your mind. And so the best presenters out there create engaging content and have their audiences fully engaged with what's going on by ensuring there's enough storytelling throughout the day, throughout their talk, to make that Oxytocin get produced.

Now, what does that mean? The art of storytelling is slowly being lost day after day. We're just not doing it as much as we used to, so if you want to engage your audience members, start to learn to tell stories.

One of the best ways of doing this is going down to your local bookstore and picking up some kids' nursery rhymes or fairy tales and just having a read through the rhythm and the process of doing that, and have a look at how they build up characters and how they tell stories.

Make Your Story Relatable

Next you need to think of little stories or anecdotes about yourself and then apply them to your content. Doing this will actually help you develop even deeper engagement.

In fact, in the business world and in the corporate world, quite often they use sport as their way of storytelling. They use a lot of sporting analogies to ensure that they have this whole process of actually creating these stories that you can actually bond your content too.

So one of the things that we know about being engaged and actually having our audiences on the edge of their seats is that storytelling will never lose its charm.

If you want to keep people engaged and you want them to sit on the edge of their chairs, add way more stories to your content. In fact, the way in which I write presentations is kind of a little bit back to front.

Getting Your Audience To Take Positive Action

I think about the one action that I would love you to take. Is it to meditate? Is it to drink more water? Is it to eat more vegetables? Is it to read more books?

Once I know the action I want you to take, I then think of all the stories in my life in which I've taken that action. And then once I know the stories and the characters in those stories, then and only then do I even begin to think about the kind of content I want to teach you on the day.

So for me it's the action, the story, and then the content. Unfortunately with amateurs, it's the content, the content, and then the content.

In summary, the best way to keep people on the edge of their seats is to tell stories with great character development, with incredible turning points, incredible emotional journeys that people go on, and if you do that, you will find that every time you look out to the audience, they are fully engaged, they are fully attentive, they are staring at you, and they are hanging off every word.

We have an event coming up where we teach you a whole bunch of the strategies, tools, and structures used by some of the world's greatest educators of all time, and also I show you a behind-the-scenes look at the entire events industry, how you can create workshops, seminars, and online programs with very little effort to make a huge impact to millions of people's lives.

So if you'd like to find out more, please enter your details below on this page for our next upcoming event.

Wealth From Workshops

Read more about: Public Speaking

Ben is the Difference-Maker Mentor and Co-founder of Authentic Education. He is exquisite at inspiring people to share their message, make a difference in the world and live abundantly on purpose.

Ben has been featured in media such as the Today Show, Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post and News.com.au.