How To Capture The Audience’s Attention?
Most, if not all of you, would have been an audience member once before. As you are sitting in and getting ready for a long presentation, you realise that paying attention as an audience member is already a huge challenge. Imagine instead that you are the presenter or speaker – your challenge is not just to grab the audience attention but to also hold on to it, anchor it and in a sense – capture the audience attention. Here are 3 simple tips I want to share from what I learnt from my classes.
First, the introduction is key – your audience will start to assess within the first few minutes, whether it is worth it to pay attention to you. You don’t need an overly-dramatic or theatrical introduction – I believe that meaningful engagement with the audience in your introduction creates a strong entrance. For example, you can play around with the audience attention and subvert it at the start – “many of you find insects disgusting, but do you know that most of us would have consumed an insect at least once”. You can start with an obvious premise and reverse that.
Second, one of the common traits of engaging speakers I have observed are those that continuously encourages the audience members to ruminate, introspect and think about the points being delivered. One strong tool for this is using rhetorical questions – questions that are not intended to obtain information but to elicit a response. For example, for an inspirational speech – “My teacher called out my name – it was my turn to perform for the musical. I stood at the side and refused to step out. Have you [pause] ever been in that situation before?” Add pauses for emphasis and to allow the audience time to digest the question.
Finally, it never hurts to start and pepper your speech with stories. Some examples of effective stories are – personal stories (which show sincerity in your delivery), or even stories that show your passion (talking about your experience, achievements). Remember not to save on the details for your stories!
These tips aside – always remember to keep things simple, so that your audience finds it easy to follow your speech.
HEAR IT DIRECTLY FROM PUBLIC SPEAKING ACADEMY’S VICE-PRINCIPAL, ZULHAFNI ZULKEFLEE!