Is the room or the audience in charge?

When I was Argentina recently I met up with a friend of a friend, Gaby. Here we are riding motorbikes around Buenos Aires together.  


Gaby is a film producer, and he told me something that has really resonated. Something about how a producer thinks about the movie they are making.  

He said that when a movie is played in cinemas the theatre is the boss, whereas if it’s streamed (on TV, Netflix etc) the viewer is the boss. He explained that in a cinema you can’t change channel, the theatre is in charge of what’s playing. So as the producer you have more license. More time to set up the story.  

However, if someone is watching it at home, they are in charge of what’s playing. You have to enrol them right up front.  

I think when you design your programs, you should imagine that your audience has a remote control. Go really hard at the start enrolling your students in giving you their full attention. In staying involved. In being present. 

In other words, start with a lot of why. Why should they listen? Why will this make their lives better? What are the problems that you’re going to tackle together? What are the outcomes that are possible? What are the benefits?  

Because even if they can’t switch channels, they can definitely switch off.