For lack of a better term, we will call anyone you choose to engage in or interact with as the audience. The first step of engaging your audience is understanding the audience.
Audience members fall into three categories: 1) the totally disengaged 2) the totally engaged and 3) the in between. They could also be understand as 1) those who won't 2) those who will and 3) those unsure.
It is important to identify the composition of your audience so you are wary of wasting time and energy engaging in a person(s) that may be totally disengaged, uninterested, or won't listen. It is equally a poor use of energy in engaging the totally engaged, commitedly interested, undivided people who will listen. Your time is best reaching out and connecting to the unsure.
The simple rule is this:
1) If they have already decided they are not interested, don't want to talk or engage, don't want to be there, or they just dislike you, don't waste your time trying to convince them otherwise- they won't buy in.. they have already decided that.
2) If they already worship you, trust you, revere you as an expert, or have decided to fully participate or entertain the engagement, don't waste your time trying to convince them or appeal to them- they are already bought in.
3) Now if they are unsure they: believe you, want to listen to you, want to follow you, or even want to be there, convince them. These are the people you can sway and turn into allies.
Now it's not to say that the totally disengaged cannot become allies; for the sake of efficiency and focusing your energy and efforts you would benefit from converting the masses first and then spending individualized time connecting with the totally disengaged. Try observing your audience or "target" and see if you can read or gauge their interest or buy-in. Practice being selective and strategic on who and how you want to engage. Good luck!!! Come back for more concrete tips