We all are experts in our area, but does our audience engagement and size reflect that?
Many of us have teaching or speaking experience.
Our main goal of creating an online course should be to help our audience/clients improve in the area we excel in.
But what will my audience think? What will they really experience?
Many of you know that I am a former High School English teacher. I have persued my MA in Education, and am a online course curriculum developer. So during my experience as a high school teacher I have learned to “hear” my audience. My mental audience is a classroom of complaining, lazy, unmotivated teenagers that guide my thinking during the creation process.
This classroom full of teenagers complains when I do anything that wastes time, is redundant or doesn’t make sense. These teens make sure that I am a balance of entertaining but also organized and well-spoken. These teens will let me know only if I’m doing something bad, but if I am doing something good, there is quiet and sometimes… if I’m amazing… ONLY if I’m amazing… they will tell their friends.
Teenagers are not much different than adults:
In audience roles, we know the information we are receiving is valuable and we know the teacher is knowledgeable, but if they aren’t giving us what we expect, we mentally complain. We will never tell others about what we learned, we won’t ever go back to them, or sometimes we will go as far as ask for our money back.
When the audience complains, as much as we want to think it’s the students fault, it isn’t. It is the teacher’s fault.
If you want to be a dynamic speaker/teacher, you HAVE to think about the audience’s experience!!
That classroom full of teenagers is why I do what I do. I have done that dirty work for you. I have taken one for the team of entrepreneurs. I have fought my hardest in that classroom full of teenagers to learn good teaching strategies, know which activities are fun but time wasters, and begin to anticipate the response before EVERY lesson, activity or question. Which activities I think will be amazing, but are received with rolled eyes and a sigh.
I’ve learned to anticipate the response and answer the questions before they are asked.
People want to have an amazing and successful course or speaking career, but they don’t want to look at their speaking with the critical eye of those complaining teenagers. They want to think that their knowledge and insight will carry them. They want to think the audience cares about their topic as much as they do. Sorry to say, they don’t. But it is your job to get them to care. To make them realize the value of caring. To get them to have an unforgettable experience. One that will get them talking to their friends about you.
Because they won’t talk about you, unless you make them.
See the audience experience is 100 percent dependent on what you do, what you say, how you say it, what you ask them to do, what you do while they are doing what you ask of them and how you follow up with them.
There are a lot of successful courses and successful speakers. The market is getting overwhelmed to be honest. But YOU don’t have to be one of the same. What is going to make you stand out? Your connection with your audience and your understanding of the audience experience.
Here are a few strategies that I consider before teaching:
1. Ask questions that elicit a response.
Ask questions that they WANT to answer! People WANT to tell stories and share their knowledge. Give them time to do that and care about what they say!!
2. Don’t tell them what they already know.
But if you must, tell them they already know it!! Ex: “You probably already know ___ but I need to remind you so that we can grow to the next step.”
3. Think about the trolls.
Don’t dwell on them but consider what they might say. Consider if you are boring, long winded, uncaring, or so smart you make zero connection with people. Consider what they might say and fix yourself before they get a chance to say it.
4. Teach someone in real life who will tell you the truth.
Someone who is at the same level as your target audience. And take notes!! What questions do they have? What are they confused about that make you have to reteach them? What terms, phrases and other details do you need to explain further?
Any other tips? Join in the conversation!