✋The Quest #109: The Early Engagement Effect

Hello friends,

🙌Many thanks for reading The Quest, your weekly round-up of tips and insights to help you design and lead exceptional online sessions that your group members will love.❤️

Why do you need to engage your audience early? That’s our Quest for this week🔎

Let’s dive right in!

✋There is one simple facilitation concept that transformed engagement in my sessions.

Here it is: when you engage your participants early, they are more likely to stay engaged throughout the session.

I call it the Early Engagement Effect (EEE).

It’s why the first 5 minutes of any group session – online, in-person, or hybrid – can make or break the entire experience. Understanding this concept is how you avoid crickets and awkward silences.

Not everyone knows about the EEE.

I’ve been in countless workshops, meetings, and courses where the presenter monologues their way through most of the session. And then they launch a 10-minute Q&A at the end. Maybe you have too? So you are probably familiar with the awkward silence that follows.

You can see the difference that engaging early makes to the rest of your session in this graph👇

The EEE is your key to unlocking engagement.

Engagement means that your group members are motivated to have meaningful involvement in your session. Because they want to. And that’s when you see people fully participating and ready to take action.

It’s your job to unlock engagement.

You can’t assume that people come to your session already primed to engage. Engagement is like a light switch. And it’s your job to help your participant turn the engagement switch on.

How do you unlock engagement? That’s our Quest for this week🔎

👉Priya Parker’s 5 Ways the First 5 Minutes Shape Guests

👉Session Lab’s 5 Ways to Engage Your Audience

✨Priya Parker’s 5 Ways the First 5 Minutes Shape Guests

Few people understand the nuances of a powerful opening than Art of Gathering author Priya Parker. In this article, she breaks down why the first 5 minutes are so important and the magic of a good opening.

Here are Parker’s 5 elements of an artful opening👇

1/ It invites guests into a (temporary) social contract

2/ It reminds people why they are there

3/ It shows guests you care

4/ It connects guests through shared, relevant context

5/ A good opening meets the moment.

“The way we shape these very first moments affects all the next moments, too.” Priya Parker

🧰Session Lab’s 5 Ways to Engage Your Audience During Workshops

One thing is getting people to engage early. Then you have to keep them engaged. That’s hard to do when they say our attention span is lower than a goldfish’s.

There are a million tips out there that claim to help you engage your audience (some better than others). I like this blog from Session Lab because it focuses on the principles of engagement rather than throw away tips and tricks.

Here are the 5 tips:

1/ Different people, different learning styles

2/ Relevance

3/ Make it a Dialogue

4/ Tell a Story

5/ Gamify

Also, check out their amazing and free library of facilitation techniques 👉 here.

✍️Quote of the week

Special shout out to all of the women out there making a difference in the world – this quote is for you. ❤️

“One of the greatest gifts anybody can give is the inspiration to develop courage. If people feel comfortable enough to develop some courage, then they can do anything they really want to do—why, they can devise their own lives.”

Maya Angelou Author, poet, and activist

How are you celebrating women on International Women’s Day?

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Creatively yours,

P.S. We are gearing up for the spring cohort of my 5-week live online course Breakthrough Facilitation starting mid-April. 🎉

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