Getting the attention of any audience takes preparation. You may have already established yourself as a speaker, but likely for a specified group. You may have come to a point to where you want to reach a different audience.
I want to share a few things to consider and to incorporate for attracting a younger audience. By younger audience, I mean someone like myself — ages 18-34, a mix between Millennials and Generation Z, and a growing generation present in the workforce.
High-Quality Performance Calls for High-Quality Tools
It should go without saying: we live in fast-paced world driven by technology. Technology plays a vital role in the lives of young professionals. So having a simple PowerPoint won’t cut it to maintain their attention. Your presentation isn’t a one-person show. Share your presentation with the message you want to share through strong visualizations.
If you are using a slide software like PowerPoint or Prezi, be sure to include high resolution photos and short videos. Low resolution visuals scream “no thanks” if most of your audience can access HD resolution almost-everything in the palm of their hand. Stock photos are alright, but can make a message seem very commercial when no one from your team is represented. So if you do add visual content (please do) include yourself, your team, and you living out your message.
Engage and Share
Nearly 90% of people ages 18-29 use social media. The numbers on how much time this age group spends on social media is also significant. With that said, you don’t want to see these networks as competition for attention, but rather a tool to engage.
With so many different platforms out there, it’s hard to pick one or two, but if you are an author like many of our clients I suggest you go with Instagram as your speaking front-runner. Sure, you can still interact with #’s on twitter, but those will only trend for so long with your audience. 81% of Instagram users ages 18-24 visit the platform on daily basis, with 55% reporting that they do so several times per day (I know I am).
Make your audience part of the message and post pictures of them on your Instagram story and/or profile. Be sure to share with them the Geotag for your presentation. This will allow you to share your message not just with your followers, but spark interest in theirs.
As for pictures, try to get shots of the audience (which someone on your team can capture as you speak) and, if possible, one with you and the audience behind you. This will help them feel significant and part of the mission you stepped on the stage for.
If you are an author, bring some books and be creative about giving them away. Snap pictures of the winners and share the pictures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
If you want to give your audience a takeaway that won’t be forgotten and always accessible, create a digital flyer with key points of your message and put that link on your Instagram bio.
This will create (1) traffic to your social media channel, and (2) allow your information to be accessible at all times. Maybe the person wasn’t so moved right away, but a day might pass, or a week, etc., and they can go back and embrace that moment.
Have a Purpose: The Why
Like so many other people, a younger audience can be moved by storytelling. What makes this group unique is that they don’t just want the answers or the secrets to success.
They want the why — what purpose does this wisdom serve? Young professionals are often mocked for desiring so much “purpose” in the workplace, but if you want their attention, respect this desire. Calling yourself an expert isn’t good enough for a fact-check savvy generation who has a diverse array of wisdom at their fingertips; but what can make you unique is your “why” — why this information worked for you and how you witnessed it impact others, and how it can help them spread positive impact too.
Capturing anyone’s attention is tough, but you have to meet the group of people you want to reach in a way that is familiar to them. For the maturing workforce, that’s through an impactful purpose-filled message with high-quality tools that help engage and interact with your theme and the masses.
Sierra Hernandez lives in Riverside, CA. She obtained her BA in Communication from the University of Toledo. She spends her free time with loved ones, and loves to participate in social activism, especially for human rights and environmental concerns.