How to Effectively Engage Your Audience

Do you want to increase the chances for success from your next story, video, or other message?  Then learn how to engage your audience.

“Engaged audiences” is a common term, but what does it mean?  To engage is “to attract or please; to secure for an action.”  When your readers, viewers, and listeners are attracted to what you’re saying, they’ll be more open to taking a responsive action.

You can do this by telling your audience what THEY WANT before telling them what you want to share.  How?

Make them feel valued. Demonstrate that you share your audience’s values by communicating what is both relatable and meaningful to them.

Invite them in. Ask your audience to share their story, or to contribute to the cause or service that you are promoting, or for their attendance to the event that you are advertising.  In each case, tell them how they can benefit by taking action.

It’s about us. Show your audience how what you are saying or doing contributes to the larger Illini story (of which they share), such as more attendance to boost the team, more money to help find solutions, or more cost savings to make dollars go farther. This helps to keep the message on brand and relevant and shows your audience how what you are doing affects not only the audience but the entire UIUC legacy.

Consider, where possible, incorporating pictures and sound to written messages.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a GIF may be worth 10,000 words and a video may be worth 100,000 words.