Power Presentations Tip 25: Hold Attention

Power Presentations Tip 25:

How do you hold attention?

The reality is that you don't hold attention for long. The best you can probably do is to capture the attention of your audience from time to time.

If you think that everyone is paying attention to everything you say - you are deluding yourself. When you present you are competing with everything else going on in each individual's brain. Everyone's brain operates much faster than you can speak which means that their brain gets bored and searches for something else to think about.

Not only are you competing with the super computing power of the human brain - people today have shorter attention spans than just a few years ago. That's due to the speed of technology, pace of life and barrage of incoming messages in many formats.

What can you do?
Include spaced changes during your presentation. The changes recapture the attention of your audience.

What kind of changes?

  • Change your voice. Speak in a higher or deeper tone.
  • Change the pace. Speak faster or slower.
  • Change the cadence by varying your speaking rhythm.
  • Change the sentence structure from statements to posing a question.
  • Change your body position by shifting your stance or taking a couple steps.
  • Change your body language by making a gesture with your hands.
  • Change the focus of attention by using a visual prop.
  • Change the speaker by engaging a listener to ask a question or make a comment.
  • Change the state of your listeners by making them laugh, take notes or respond.
Sprinkle these changes like spice liberally throughout your presentation. It's the spice that will capture their attention again and again. State your important points right after a change.

George Torok

PS: tell me how this tip helps you.
PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.


"All of your tips are proving very useful George. The "thanks" are mine."
Michael Sadiwnyk
Sr.Vice President Global Relations & Chief Standards Officer


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Forbes: To Lead, Tell a Story

To Lead, Tell A Story
By Christian D'Andrea and Adam Nemett

Storytelling has always helped people deal with change. As civilizations ebb and flow, stories are the essential tools that help us calibrate our humanity, rally our spirit and thrive in crisis. They help us remember who we are and imagine what we can be.

Lucius Cincinnatus was a Roman leader who came to his nation's defense and then spurned a dictatorship and returned to his farm as soon as he had saved Rome. George Washington knew and loved Cincinnatus' story, and so did many of his countrymen. Having led the fledgling U.S. through storms that nearly tore the country apart, Washington returned to his own farm, possibly his greatest act of leadership. In so doing, he struck a profound blow for the republic, sending a clear message that the leaders of the new country could not be kings.

Washington was widely compared to Cincinnatus. He became the first president of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of Revolutionary War veterans who honored the comparison with Cincinnatus. America drew on the story of the Roman general as we draw on the story of George Washington. Stories are the fuel cells that store our shared resilience and ideals. We draw on those fuel cells in times of crisis.

Corporations need culture-shaping stories just as nations do, because stories can be much more than entertaining yarns. They can be engines driving real change at the highest organizational levels.

A recent Gallup Management Journal article, "Four Disciplines of Sustainable Growth," suggests that identifying and highlighting key moments in corporate history "creates the right heroes in your organization. If you want to understand the culture of Great Britain, look to its heroes, myths and legends. Each of these war stories, retold in countless history books and classrooms, captures the spirit of 'determination in adversity' that the British so prize in themselves. By studying your best performers, you will gather the raw material you need to tell the right stories and create the right heroes."

Read the rest of this article at Forbes.com...

A few good examples of using stories. My experience shows that the best speakers are good story tellers.

If you want to dramatically improve your presentations - start telling more dramatic stories.

Everyone loves a good story. No one wants another lecture - just ask your kids.

George Torok
Executive Speech Coach
Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Steve Jobs

This video on Forbes.com offers fundamental tips about effective presentations and uses Steve Jobs as the example of a good presentation.

It provides good tips and good examples.


What does Jobs do well?

1. Eye contact
2. Open posture
3. Hand gestures

The commentator, Carmine Galle, author of The Presentation Secrets provides a colorful and helpful analysis of the presentation skills of Steve Jobs. Then for added contrast he points out the presentation faults of Stan Stigman, CEO of Cingular who followed Jobs on stage.


An interesting video and good contrast to emphasise the points.

George Torok
Executive Speech Coaching
Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Forbes: Must-Have Skills for IT Leaders

Must-Have Skills For IT Leaders
by Arun Manansingh

Over the decades, there have been numerous books and articles written about the characteristics and skills that leaders should have to be effective in the workplace. Executives know that these management skills are universal and can be applied to any industry, including information technology.

Whether your title is CIO, CTO, vice president or IT manager, there are fundamental skills that allow you to manage effectively. It is just a matter of taking these concepts that make sense to you and incorporating them into your own style of management. Here are seven tips that will help you become a more effective IT leader.

Learn to communicate effectively. This is a skill that is often given secondary importance in an IT leader's career. To be effective you need to be able to communicate your decisions, processes and goals upward (with management), downward (with your staff) and side-to-side (with your peers).

Read the rest of article at Forbes.com

Interesting to note that of the seven skills needed for IT leaders - the first one listed is Communication Skills. It's not suprising - yet why do so many intelligent people not invest enough in developing their communication skills.

Curiously, I'm meeting this week with a CIO who wants to fine tune his presentation skills. Clearly he gets it.

George Torok

Speech Coaching for Executives

Presentation Skills Training for Managers

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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


How to Radiate More Confidence than You Feel

Audio Class on feeling and looking more confident while presenting

Almost every speaker faces the challenge of how to appear to be better than you feel. The answer lies not in talent but in understanding and using the techniques of powerful presenters. This program will reveal the secrets of how to look and sound more confident.

In this program you will discover:

  • Five confidence boosters to use before you speak
  • Three techniques to guarantee a positive start to your presentation
  • What to do when you feel the shakes, willies or flashes
  • How to relax yourself and your audience sooner
  • What do to when you mess up and why you shouldn't apologize
  • How to conclude on a positive note - so they remember your confidence
  • The Dirty-Dozen red flags of non-confidence you must avoid waving

Live Audio Class
When: Thursday October 22, 2009 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm EST (New York Time)

Call in to listen to this live telephone broadcast from the convenience of your home or office.

It's okay if you have a speaker phone and want others to listen in. No extra charge.

Here's an easy way for you to continue to improve your presentation skills. Listen to audio classes and get ongoing support for your skills development.

Plus there's more...

To read all the details and register click here.

George Torok
The Speech Coach for Executives

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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.