12 Amazing Audience Engagement Ideas I Learned on a Cruise - Part 1

12 Amazing Audience Engagement Ideas I Learned on a Cruise – Part 1

Rosemary and I cruised in the Baltic Sea and the British Isles, and I learned some useful audience engagement tips along the way!

Rosemary and I cruised in the Baltic Sea and the British Isles, and I learned some useful audience engagement tips along the way!

I recently returned from performing magic on a couple of European cruises which combined to fill nearly the entire month of August. My wife joined me on this adventure as the dates overlapped our 19th wedding anniversary. We started with five days in Stockholm, Sweden, where we saw the sights and I visited a friend who had been an exchange student to my high school many years ago! We concluded with three days in Dublin, Ireland.

While we were in Russia, I was inspired by one experience to make a change to the way I think about my business, my performances, and my keynote presentations. As I gave it more thought, I realized that each stop along the way taught me something important about providing amazing and engaging experiences for my audiences, both at live events and for my brand’s audience.

What did I learn in each port? Here are some of my takeaways. The rest will appear in the next post.

We probably would have missed this beautiful view of Stockholm from Södermalm without a tip from a friend.

We probably would have missed this beautiful view of Stockholm from Södermalm without a tip from a friend.

Amazing tip #1: Guide your audience to an experience that most people miss.

Stockholm, Sweden – In the five days we were in Stockholm we covered a lot of ground, from visiting royal palaces to shopping in Gamla stan. But the most amazing experience to me was the opportunity to reconnect with my friend Anna, whom I hadn’t seen since high school over 25 years ago. Her insights and advice led us to explore a part of the city we might otherwise have missed.

Amazing tip #2: Put a hidden gem somewhere in the experience for your audience to discover.

Tallin, Estonia – This wasn’t a port we expected to love, but we were tipped off by Rosemary’s aunt that it was a hidden gem. It didn’t have the name recognition of a St. Petersburg or Helsinki. But it turned out to be a favorite stop – lots of history, interesting things around every corner, and easy to walk and explore.

Amazing tip #3: You don’t have to be “on” all the time; create multiple ways for your audience to explore your offerings on their own.

Helsinki, Finland – This port had name recognition, but our visit was on a Sunday and so we encountered a lot of closed stores until later in the day. This meant that we had quiet streets and little traffic all morning. We couldn’t get into every location because some places are closed on Sunday morning. But we got to peek inside a Russian Orthodox cathedral during a service and that was a beautiful experience.

The interior of the Alexandrinksy Theatre creates an expectation that what happens onstage will be worthy of the environment.

The interior of the Alexandrinksy Theatre creates an expectation that what happens onstage will be worthy of the environment.

Amazing tip #4: In every possible interaction, prime your audience to appreciate the beauty in what you will share with them.

St. Petersburg, Russia – Rosemary and I spent an evening at the ballet. We saw “Sleeping Beauty” at the Alexandrinsky Theatre. I was intensely moved by the beauty of the building, the sets, the costumes, the music, and of course the dancers. The moment we entered that theatre, we knew something special was going to happen. We were primed to appreciate the beauty to follow. I was inspired to add something beautiful to my presentations – something that gives my audience a chance to appreciate art for the sake of beauty.

Amazing tip #5: Make sure the experience you deliver stands up to repeat engagement. Add layers if necessary.

Copenhagen, Denmark – This was my second visit to Copenhagen, and it was easy to pick up right where I left off on last year’s trip with my daughter. Since my wife and I had only a single day in port, though, we had to budget our time. We chose to limit the number of attractions and explore more thoroughly, meaning that even though I visited Rosenborg Castle last year, I actually got a bit more out of the visit this year.

There’s more to come in part two! Stay tuned!

You can read the other entries in this series via the following links:
12 Amazing Audience Engagement Ideas I Learned on a Cruise – Part 2
12 Amazing Audience Engagement Ideas I Learned on a Cruise – Part 3