5 Attention-grabbing tactics for your next presentation

August 30, 2010

Wondering why you loose your audience? Want to get more attention form your audience? Well, you have come to the right place.
In a previous post I had it in for agenda slides which potentially can get the audience to switch off before you start. I did offer some further tips in the return of the agenda slide, but of course the start of your presentation should not necessarily be the start of your presentation.  And here’s the shocker, neither needs a title slide be…
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Five sure-fire ways to get people’s attention.

August 27, 2010

People are busy.  It seems to me that if you want to get people’s attention you need to make sure that you earn it…

So I was thinking what works on me, i.e. how do people get my attention?

Turns out that if someone stand some chance to get my attention when he/she:

  • speaks to my curiosity in that they offer me some information I don’t have; of course it must be easy to access…
  • entertains me, i.e. I find his/her company, their writing, or whatever enjoyable in some way…
  • makes my life easier; here I speak about comfort, having less hassles, doing things faster, where I want, when I want to…
  • provides great service; it tends to make me feel special, although I realise its probably his/her attitude to life rather than me…
  • offers me just what I need, and not a million things more…

Of course critical in all of this is that they must be clear about what they offer, I (like most people) don’t like thinking about arbitrary crap all of the time…

Of course people build reputation, so getting attention is a good thing — if you can keep your promises.  A sure way to get attention, but of a negative way is to annoy them to no end… of course that will get you short-term attention and ensure that you will be ignored in future!

I suppose this what marketers do all day… But then I can’t understand why so little of the above things happen to me… Am I such a strange demographic?

So how do you get my attention?  Or better question what got your attention h

Is what you do worthy of people’s valuable attention?

August 25, 2010

I was reminded today about the importance of getting an audience attention. This in turn reminded me about a book I read some years ago by Davenport and Beck, The Attention Economy. They defined the concept of attention as:

“Attention is focused mental engagement on a particular item of information. Items come into our awareness, we attend to a particular item, and then we decide whether to act.”

Thinking about this I again realized that there are so many things fighting for my attention. I may be aware of them, but till some cognition come into play I did not really give it any attention. I was thinking how many emails I get, how many new blog posts I become aware of in my RSS reader, status updates in Facebook, LinkedIn, not even to mention the tweets…

So how does one gets lured into giving something your valuable attention?  Then I remembered a copyblogger post which managed to get my attention earlier today “How to Write Eye-Catching Headlines transform Browsers into Buyers“. While the tips there is clearly aimed at people blogging for an income, many of it extrapolates well to other media.

Why would a recipient of an e-mail decide that it is worthy of actually applying some brain power to that e-mail you sent just now?  Why would somebody listen to your talk?  Why would some-one read your paper?

Why is anything worthy of your valuable attention?  I hope that my blog posts are worthy of your attention… Either way I intend exploring this issue a bit further in later blogs.

If you’ve read this far I hope I can assume that something got your attention. And since i don’t want to waste your valuable attention, why not share with me what you like. And, of course, also what you don’t like…

DIY Powerpoint Icons

August 20, 2010
Microsoft PowerPoint Icon

Microsoft Powerpoint

The more I learn about Powerpoint 2010 the more impressed I am getting.  Want to create a nice looking icon? Well now you don’t need some fancy graphical editing tools anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

Put it on a list…

August 20, 2010

Lately I’ve been thinking about productivity issues quite a lot.  Some of it probably has to do with the fact that I managed to curb my e-mail anxiety quite a bit. If you read my blog previously you may recall that I’ve previously blogged about how I fought my e-mail monster in two rounds (one; two) and how I’ve sized it up, and how.  In that post I also mentioned that I used GTD principles as explained in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. My experience as I applied that to e-mail was really positive.  It was not easy, but I reckon it is all about making a certain way of thinking a habit.
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Lecturers at your service…?

August 17, 2010

Does lecturers do students a service? Of course we may respond.  But I think it is worthwhile to consider the notion of services and why people would see something as a service.

Lets draw an analogy to buying say an Internet service.  When will you be happy? There is two aspects to it. Firstly it must allow us to do something new or better. Connecting to the Internet, maybe faster than before… Fine. Secondly it must be doing so in a way that you are happy.  For the Internet service we may be looking at is it available enough, fast enough, and secure enough…

So now consider what we offer students.  The first criteria is easily met (I hope): we will provide them with new knowledge and skills.  The second criteria, however, provides a challenge. Why, well we need to provide it in a way they (the student, the customer) wants…  Granted, we live in world of constraints (I would have liked a 100G Internet connection at my house, but it maybe for now a bit unreasonable).  So we need to think about what the students can reasonable want. This brings about some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are we consistent in our delivery to students, do all of them get the same treatment?
  • Do we make the information accessible enough? Are we available enough?
  • Do we provide enough avenues to the information? Do we make our expectations clear enough?
  • Do we provide the material in formats they want? Or do we talk and chalk and let them read.  (news flash: that is not how young people operate anymore)

What do you think?  Do lecturers in general serve the customer?

Customizing your twitter background… and a challenge

August 15, 2010

When I read the challenge at inoveryourhead.net of doing something that you’ve been putting off NOW, I decided to customize my twitter background.

Turns out that it is hyper-easy. The most difficult part is to make the image.  And even this is easy. I created a wider than normal slide in Powerpoint (to cater for the 1960 pixel screens) and saved that as an PNG file. My background is simple, designed to keep everything at the left of the twitter contents.  Since the twitter contents is centered on the screen it is impossible to create something that will work always, but I bargained on most people opening their browser at 800×600 or larger. For the actual design I re-used my blog pictures.

Check my twitter page out here.

OK, it took me more than 5 minutes, but not much. The lesson sometimes one must just get off your backside and do what you’ve been thinking about for a while.

Julien Smith at inoveryourhead notice that momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision. So I will re-issue Julien’s challenge on my blog:

Q: What is a five-minute action you can take today that will make tomorrow better? I don’t care if it’s cleaning your house or writing one paragraph. You’re going to do it now.
A: Drop everything right now, act on that for five minutes, and then come back and tell me what you did.

Like Julien, I will act as your conscience, just I won’t be fooled… I expect you to comment here today, or you clearly aren’t actually reading!