When we are invited onboard a cruise ship as a guest speaker, we should feel privileged.
On my last cruise ship speaking gig I heard one of the cruise ship staff members say to another staff member, “These people have chosen us to spend a week out of their lives to enjoy themselves. Let’s make them glad they did.” Or words to that affect.
Many people get only one or two weeks of vacation a year. And they choose to spend it on a cruise ship. And out of that one week experience, one-third spent sleeping and one-third spent eating (no kidding!) they choose to spend part of their week with you, the cruise ship speaker, in a lecture.
They have a reason why they are there, sitting in the bar, the theater, the club, the ice rink waiting to or listening to your talk.
It may be their significant other dragged them there.
It may be that they are just bored.
It may be that droning helps them sleep.
It may be that their bellies are full and they just want to chill.
It may be that they want to be entertained.
It may be that they have a passing interest in your talk.
It may be that they have a real interest in your talk.
It may be because the line to the next event forms behind the venue where you are speaking.
Whatever the reason is, and here is the question you care about most and MUST answer, “Why should I (the passenger) care?”
We have to answer the question for the listener why they should care about what it is we are talking about.
If we can answer that question for them early on, we will have a more engaged listener.