Many of us are taught to PRESENT, but almost nobody is taught to ENGAGE.
When we are taught to PRESENT we are instructed to stand up straight… speak slowly… project your voice… perhaps even with passion! PRESENTING focuses on the commanding actions of the presenter.
ENGAGEMENT focuses on the desired outcome of the other party, or audience. At For Impact we’ve developed this definition for ENGAGE(MENT):
A dynamic within a relationship that holds attention, heightens interest, and motivates toward action.
Without trying to teach the art of engagement in 500-words-or-less, I simply want to raise this awareness. The next time you’re preparing for a conversation, sale, or ‘presentation,’ think less about what you want to say and think more about ways to hold attention, heighten interest, and motivate toward action.
Here are a few nuggets to help you think about ENGAGE(MENT):
- Think about questions to ask to get the other person’s brain engaged.
- Use visuals, even and especially in one-on-one conversations.
- Listen! Don’t interrupt! When someone’s talking it forces them to be present — when they’re talking they are ENGAGED.
If you’re really interested in ENGAGE(MENT) one of the best books I share is Brain Rules by John Medina — specifically Rule (Chapter) #4 on Attention. Medina goes deep into ways to keep the brain engaged.