Engagement 101: Setting the Scene
What defines meaningful engagement? It depends heavily on the type of event or experience we are looking at. And it’s not just about the type of event. The best way to get quality engagement depends on “who” the audience is, and “where” they are.
What we consider a “better” audience experience depends on the situation. for example, are we:
– Educating an attentive audience with a keynote speaker
– Motivating solidarity at a team building event, or
– Inspiring expo attendees to communicate with vendors
The path to better engagement could be completely different in each example. So, we need a more in-depth understanding of the audience experience so we can understand how to make it better.
“The word ‘engagement’ doesn’t help us truly understand the audience experience. It’s just a simple conversation starter.”
So how do we define engagement for a specific event or experience? We need to break it down piece by piece.
Engagement 101: The Three Building Blocks
Generally speaking, there are three important variables of engagement that ultimately make up every event or experience – impacting motivation, inspiration and/or education:
–The User: Cognitive functioning, mood, cognitive fatigue, motivation, interests, behaviors/habits, personality
–The Environment: Distractions, stressors and features
–The Content: Messaging, format (video, keynote, hands-on/interactive), overall experience organization and flow
These three factors can work together to create a seamless, impactful experience. Or, if one is overlooked, we can easily fail to make a lasting impact.
Given the busy lives we live and the many cognitive challenges we face every day, we have good reason to think about the mindset of the audience as something that requires our attention.
When our people are unmotivated, uninspired and discouraged, it appears that very little can be done bring them back to life. In other words, quality engagement depends on the psychological state of each person.
It’s not enough to make an experience memorable and influential by designing an environment, we need to offer material tailored to the moods, interests and backgrounds of the audience.
An environment that is filled with distractions – like noise, light shows and displays – will prevent attendees from having meaningful interactions with vendors and understanding valuable information. Great content stimulates focus, encourages conversation and boosts an experience overall.
What and how content is delivered will determine if the event is yawn-inducing or yawn-reducing.
Authentically present material that’s relevant and meaningful to maximize levels of motivation and attention, while also heightening a person’s ability to process information. Significantly increase the rate of attention and retention by presenting content that’s consistent to the event’s objectives.
The Key Elements of Engagement: The User, Environment, and Content
When we break it down, it’s easy to see that better “engagement” is different for everyone. The results of every experience depend on its users, environment, and content. These three core factors create an engaging or disengaging experience and we need to think about each of them separately to start optimizing our experiences for the better.
To go even more in depth into “engagement” check out our blog post on “The Seven Principles Of Neuroscaping”, which discusses the different cognitive factors that can make or break an experience.