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The 2-minute "Worth It" Test
How to engage your virtual audience from the get-go
"Is it worth it?"
That's the burning question on your audience members’ minds as they join your virtual session.
Here's what they want to know:
👉If they can trust you
👉If they feel like they belong in the group
👉If they'll get something of value by staying
You've only got about 2 minutes to get them to "yes".
Writers know this. That's why they obsess over writing an irresistible hook. And the same principle applies to online sessions. Why two minutes? This is about the time it takes for your audience to get the first clues to help them decide whether it’s worth it.
I'm not going to lie - the stakes are high.
If you pass the test your group members will stick around and be fully in. You'll find your facilitation flow more easily. The chat will be on fire. Hand emojis will fly up. But if you don't pass, you'll notice people turning their cameras off and even leaving the session.
Passing the test isn't easy.
You are competing with about a million distractions vying for your group’s attention. And most people have learned to sniff out anything that remotely smells of a boring online session.
There are ways you can increase your chances of passing the test.
I’ve led hundreds of online sessions. I didn’t always pass the test. But I’ve learned that there are ways to be more intentional about the first 2 minutes.
Here are 3 strategies for passing the 2-minute “worth it test" that will help you pass with flying colours.
1/ 🧠Adopt the "2-minute mindset"
As Maven Co-founder Wes Kao writes, your audience doesn't owe you their attention. Once you internalize this, you can focus on keeping your audience engaged from the very first second. This mindset will help you empathize with your audience and give them a better experience.
2/ ⌚ Start on time
This may sound obvious. But how many times have you heard "let's wait for a few more people to join the session and then we’ll start." You are practically telling your audience to turn their cameras off and start checking Instagram. Don't make that mistake. Let people know in advance that you are going to start on time. Thank the group members who show up on time. And start right on time.
3/ 💥Design a powerful beginning
With the 2-minute test in mind, you can intentionally design the start of your session. This could include crafting a message in the Zoom waiting room, running a countdown timer to kick off, playing music as they join, showing a welcome slide, greeting people by their names, launching a prompt question or a poll, and bringing your energy to the session🔥. You'll build trust, get voices heard, and start delivering value.
Of course, you'll need to keep your group engaged throughout the session. But it will be a whole lot easier after you pass the 2-minute "worth it" test.
What would motivate your audience to say hell yes! in the first two minutes?
This post was inspired by Justin Welsh’s advice on writing a LinkedIn post.