Putting Engagement First

By  •  Updated: 03/03/24 •  3 min read

I ran the first live event I’ve done since lockdown last week, and it was such a buzz to get people back in the room and talking again.

It went great, but as ever I was scrawling notes on how we can make the next event better, and the best lesson came from the first session

The first speaker has a bit of a reputation for going over her allotted time.

We don’t really care too much because she’s a great presenter, and really knows her stuff, but we’d given her a bit of a nudge about it during rehearsals.

So she started off with this on her mind and she sort of blurted out:

“I’m sorry if this goes over. I always get told off for telling too many stories, and taking up more than my time.”

As she went through her talk, I realised we’d almost messed up her set completely.

The stories were exactly what gave her talk the credibility they always have.

It’s 2024. Any idiot can get ChatGPT to churn out some generic information, but when you back it up with experiences, that’s what gives you the credibility.

A couple of times she had to hide the names of who she was talking about. We had a few competitors in the room, and sharing strategies is always a sticky topic with bigger organisations.

But the detail of the story, the descriptions of the people involved, and the story of the struggles they had and how they overcame them, had too much texture for her to have made them up.

Education is information plus entertainment.

Whenever you run a course or try to train someone, you go through 3 steps:

Most people start off with the theory, because they think that’s what’s important. In some ways it is, but that doesn’t mean it needs to come first.

To get someone to be interested in the theory, you have to get their attention, and the best way to do that is a story.

Can you see how I’ve done it in this article?

I started with the story as the example

Then I pulled out the theory (attention before theory)

Now, guess what? I’m going to ask you to go and write your own lesson in the same order, then come back to the copy of this article on Medium and drop it in the comments.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.