Delivering a speech in front of an audience is one thing, but engaging that audience is a completely different challenge. It is not enough to simply recite a rehearsed speech. You must present information and experiences in a manner that captures the audience’s attention. This is easier said than done.
Create a Retreat Conversation or Event That Engages Your Audience
A retreat in which participants enjoy various activities will certainly prove beneficial, yet the experience has potential to be so much more. Your challenge is to create a conversation or event during the retreat that not only keeps your audience alert but holds their interest from start to finish.
Attention spans have never been shorter. This is attributable to the fact that we are living in an on-demand society in which just about any product or service can be obtained in seconds with a few keystrokes and clicks. If you do not organize your retreat in a manner that interests your audience right off the bat, their minds will inevitably wander.
How to Engage Retreat Participants
If you are fearful or nervous about leading a retreat and making one or several speeches in front of the retreat participants, your audience will be able to tell you are uncomfortable. The key is to overcome your fear so you can present information in a manner that activates participants' minds. It may sound cliche, but practice makes perfect.
Focus on providing high-quality information rather than an abundance of information. The average person is absolutely inundated with information from the moment he or she wakes until going to bed at night. Consider the experiences or information you would like to present and whittle it down to what matters the most.
Do not rush through your presentation. Take your time, breathe deep and be present in the moment. Your focus should be on engaging the retreat participants and keeping conversation and activity on track.
View the Audience as Active Participants
A retreat is about participation, establishing bonds and growing. Do not deliver a lengthy monologue to Christian retreat participants. Engage participants in a legitimate dialogue and encourage participation in retreat events. Your audience will be much more likely to become engaged and stay engaged.
Do everything you can to encourage participation during a Christian retreat. Ask questions of your group, field comments, provide retreat-goers with group activities and keep them thoroughly engaged from the moment the retreat starts all the way to the end.
Ditch the Tech
Technology certainly plays an important role in contemporary society yet it will only serve to distract retreat participants. Do not lose sight of the fact that people participate in a retreat to connect with God as well as fellow spiritualists. This is not a time to be distracted by smartphones, tablets and laptops. A retreat should be a peaceful break from technology. Avoid PowerPoint, smart phones, computers and other technology during speeches and Christian retreat activities.
It's Better to Show Than it is to Tell
Retreat participants prefer to be shown things and experience them on their own rather than be told about them. Strive to involve your Christian retreat participants with meaningful experiences as opposed to speeches delivered in the form of a lengthy monologue. Keep in mind that some people are poor listeners. Engage several different senses and Christian retreat participants will actively learn and feel legitimately engaged.
An engaging multi-sensory experience will prove more valuable than listening to a lengthy speech. If you are intent on giving a speech, share information through an intriguing story that others can identify with. Delivering information in such an artful manner keeps the audience interested.