Some association audiences are naturally engaged and interactive while others are more reserved. It is sometimes hard to tell why some groups more easily open up than others.
Usually though it has to do with how well the group knows each other and how comfortable they feel warming up together.
Some audiences are diverse and rarely get the chance to engage and see each others. They can be standoffish or even an envious bunch, competitive and guarded. They carry a general air of professionalism. Opening up and engaging is difficult for this group because it may be seen as an occupational hazard.
As a humorous motivational speaker my job is to break down the barriers and try to get this group to open up and build rapport. Some audiences take longer for this to happen and the opportunity to engage this group is usually a playful interaction with a key influencial member of the audience. The other key is to layer in a lot of industry specific content to build credibility.
Other audiences can be more naturally ready to open up and laugh together. These groups tend to be a real pleasure to speak for as they naturally get wrapped up in a motivational speech. The map to their soul is much easier to navigate as they show their emotion much quicker and obviously.
Usually association audiences of this nature are health care professionals like nurses, social workers, dentists and other human service professions. Next to this parks and recreation, some administrative professional groups, credit unions and more.
Some blue collar professionals and military audiences can be very naturally warm and enagaged while others take more time to drop their reservations.
I usually find upper level leadership groups ( CEO's and business owners) are very engaging.
Surprizingly, engineers and architexts are great crowds while production and operations professionals are harder to warm up. Productions professionals are very hands on and require more interaction and involvement layered into the motivational speech.