Hold the attention of your listeners
First be aware that you will never hold 100% of everyone’s attention. It is extremely difficult to hold 100% of the attention even when you are talking to one person. Because our brain processes information much faster than you can speak – we will often be starving for input. When we don’t receive enough input we daydream. So forget about holding the attention 100% of the time. Instead focus on grabbing their attention back. Sprinkle your presentation with attention grabbing techniques – especially just before the important parts.
How to grab attention
The first key to grabbing attention is “changes”. Change helps to fight boredom. Other keys are relevance and being real.
- Change your pace of speaking – faster or slower
- Deepen your voice
- Change your posture
- Ask a rhetorical question
- Ask a question of the audience
- Make a bold statement
- Say “This is important.”
- Use the word “you”
- Do or say something unexpected
- Tell a personal story
- Admit a personal flaw or failure
- Make them laugh
- Issue a warning or reveal an unnoticed threat
- Pause, look at the audience and smile
- Speak to their specific needs and circumstance
- Use the name of the group or individual audience members
The Speech Coach for Executives
The above is an excerpt from "Secrets of Power Presentations" by Peter Urs Bender.