Professional speakers on cruise ships or otherwise are wanting to be more engaging.
I am a regular church goer. Our preacher is young and for his age he is a pretty good preacher. One of the things he has not learned, imho, is how to engage. Oftentimes he seems to be speaking while the congregation is listening in. Instead of talking TO the congregation, he talks into the air … and they listen.
This is NOT engaging.
When the listeners, no matter the size of the crowd feel as if the speaker is talking to them, on their level, where they are at, that is engagement at its best.
How can a professional speaker be more engaging?
1. Go early. I like to go to my venue early and listen in, borderline eavesdrop, on conversations. This will let me know what people are talking about.
2. Be a bridge. I like to listen in on sessions or events that lead right up to my presentation and connect the speaker before me with my presentation when possible.
3. Ask questions. I chat up attendees long before I go on, asking them why they are there, what they hope to learn, then tell them about my session and ask them what they would like to learn.
4. White board. When I have a chance, I ask attendees who come early what they hope to learn and I list their interests on a white board. Before I step down, I go back to the whiteboard to be sure I covered all desired topics.
5. Get down. Whenever possible, I get down off the stage and roam the aisle/s, to be on eye-level with the attendees.
6. Ask more questions. When the venue permits it, I like to leave time for my attendees to ask immediate questions AND answer them.
Did I forget something? How do you engage with your listeners?