When we have a group's attention we are in charge of a world-within-a-world. In the outside world our audience has problems - jobs, families, groceries to buy... and these problems are distractions. If we don't solve the distractions our message will be lost in the noise, so if we want to be heard by our audience, we need to inspire them to set aside these distractions by explaining how the speech fits into their larger world. This creates engagement.
The most common and effective method is to embed our world inside of theirs by explaining how the message solves their outside problems or makes their life easier. For example "Cooking without the mess." My message "The Secret of Engaging Your Audience" isn't quite so explicit which is why the third sentence of the article is... "If we don't solve the distractions, our message will be lost in the noise." The audience of this article is content-creators, public speakers, teachers, or anyone interested in being listened to when they speak so this is strong motivation. Motivation can never come too early or too often.
The other powerful method is to put their world inside of ours by explaining how we're solving a problem so large that it overwhelms the distractions of life. This is riskier but has the potential for huge rewards. Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" is one of the most influential movies of all time because it convinces us that we have bigger problems than worrying what's for dinner tonight - the fate of the planet is at stake. So stop and listen to me for two hours!
As we can see the message is not enough, it needs a context as well - either an explicit place inside our audience's life or a context so large it subsumes it. Make this context explicit, strong and credible and you will have the audience's rapt attention for as long as you desire.
How do I practice? We'll learn this and the entire engaging speech structure in Conversation Charisma, coming Monday the 24th.
Learn to speak so that people will stop and listen! Coming in two weeks to Budapest!