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Every advisor wants to “totally engage” prospects and clients. But few understand how easy it is to do so.

I define engagement as the portion of the attention and focus of the other person you grab and maintain. Total engagement is 100%.

There’s a lot of information about how to engage others. It often includes suggestions like “slow down the rate at which you present information” and other tips about how to conduct meetings.

My research shows much of this advice is wide of the mark. A story about how someone engaged a group of passengers whose flight was hopelessly delayed showed the power of this research and how it can be applied to interactions with your clients.

Delayed flight

Recently, passengers travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador found themselves waiting for a delayed flight at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. There’s nothing more frustrating (and boring) than a long wait in a crowded airport.

Most of us try to distract ourselves by wandering around or checking e-mails. Two of the passengers had another idea. One broke out his accordion. The other one took out his guitar. They started playing “folksy classics.”

What ensued was fascinating. Some passengers got out of their seats and started dancing. Others joined in the songfest. At one point, the accordion player beckoned to a young boy and encouraged him to participate in the singing. You can watch the remarkable video here.