5 Attention-grabbing tactics for your next presentation


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…
So let us consider this from the perspective of my previous post: Five sure-fire ways to get people’s attention. In few presentations the purpose of the presentation is the presentation itself.  In many presentations the presentation is to get people interested in what you are saying, in building rapport, in selling something (if not a physical artifact or a service, the an idea) So below are five tactics to include in your presentation that is sure to get you more attention. Three of the tactics one can employ at the start of your presentation, the other two deals more with planning.

1. Speak to the audience curiosity.  Start off by providing an interesting fact, a controversial statement. Something that would have the average audience saying: “Now, that’s interesting”, or “No, that can’t be…”.

2. Start by an interesting “story” or anecdote.  Not only do most people love listening to stories, but if you are a good story-teller, the audience will want to hear more…

3. Tell me what I will be able to take home.  Hopefully it is enough to make me want listen… To do this effectively you actually need to understand what your audience want, i.e. why they are attending the presentation.  Clearly if what you offer match their expectations you stand a better chance of getting their attention.

4. Give a well-prepared speech. Unpreparedness shows. Quickly. Show the audience that you respect their time, and value their interest. That you can only do by preparing diligently. If you do you are going to get the core message across, not get side-tracked and be on time…  Engage the audience as much as possible, the should feel you doing this for them.

5. Stick to one message. That should be the message you promised in point 3 above. Do not confuse the audience with too much stuff. Don’t dilute their attention. Address the need, fulfill the promise; nothing more, nothing less.

Doing this sounds so easy, but it takes applying one’s mind to the presentation at hand: who do you speak to? why do you speak to them? what do they want from you? and numerous other questions need to be answered before you can successfully implement these 5 ways.  The implementation detail clearly differ from situation to situation. A good story for one audience is not necessarily suitable for another audience.

But if you don’t think how you will grab the audience’s attention, you most likely don’t deserve their attention.

Do you have any ideas for grabbing attention when doing presentations?

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2 Responses to 5 Attention-grabbing tactics for your next presentation

  1. Andrew says:

    I always find my first lecture on State transition diagrams grabs people’s attention. Everyone seems to know what an STD is. Admittedly not in the context of my OO lectures.

  2. rabotha says:

    Andrew, maybe the fact they have something to relate STD with, provides a hook that, however weird, can help with recall when they are faced the abbreviation again…

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