Maintaining audience engagement in a conversation can be a challenge, and when you’re really trying to get your point across it can be even more demanding. Interest in any topic is emotionally subjective and not logically objective, and we all perceive through the lenses of our past experiences and pre-existing emotional states.
So, if someone is finding your conversation interesting, it’s because you’ve affected them on an individual level.
Hold the phone!
So, affecting someone on an individual level is the key to being an engaging speaker. But what about speaking to a whole group of individuals? Then we’re in a pickle.
How do we engineer our words to create a memorable impact with each listener’s personal objectives, experiences, and emotional states? Well, a quick sift through literature provides a buffet of tips and tricks to hook your audience, no matter the size.
Start by applying a metaphor to your key conversational objective. Metaphors help us relate to the unfamiliar; they provide a new context and open our minds to seeing a situation from a different angle, piquing our curiosity.
Make it extra abstract so that everyone can bring their own experiences, connect to your story, and apply it to their own situation. Leave a pause after introducing your metaphor and you’ll have linked the group into one curious individual, waiting on bated breath to find out what you mean.
You can tell you’ve achieved maximum intrigue by the changing dynamic and energy shift of the room—everyone’s waiting for you to close the loop.
Finally, explain the context behind the metaphor and include the key message you want to be remembered. Shake things up a bit with your dialogue and see what happens. Get people hanging on your words, pricking up their ears—and if your first try is impactful enough, everyone will be excited to hear your next contribution.
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