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Speakers: Keep Your Audience’s Attention by. . .

S Doing Things that Get Them Involved In Your Presentation!

Audiences have short attention spans. If they’re not paying attention to you, the speaker, they’ll never GET IT!

GETTING IT!, i.e. understanding the message, is the goal of all communication; verbal, written, or visual. It’s your job, as the presenter, to keep their attention, helping insure they’ll GET IT! 

Great Content, alone, won’t do it! Your presentation needs to Educate, Entertain, and Explain your Content. If your presentation is poor, you will lose your audience – Period!

Even when the presentation and material is good, the minds of the audience will wander!

Things that can make paying attention to the speaker, tougher than normal, include:

  1. Attendees checking email, rustling papers (one of several reasons not to have handouts), and talking to others.

  2. A presentation room that’s too hot or too cold.

  3. Poor sound quality.

  4. Outside noises.

  5. Poor lighting.

The Solution – Periodically Interact with Your Audience!

  1. Ask Questions, and raise your hand while doing so.

  2. Example: “Who, within the last year, has changed, tweaked, or trashed their Elevator Speech?”

  3. After making a Point in your presentation, ask, “Does that make sense?”

  4. Pause, and look for facial expressions and body language that says, “It does!”

  5. If that’s not the message you receive, repeat, in a different manner, your point.

  6. Then ask, “Does it now make sense?”

  7. Ask your audience to Do Something.

  8. Examples:

  9. “Let’s try an experiment! On the Count of Three, I want everyone to take a Deep Breath, hold it for a moment, then Sigh. Ready? One – Two – Three, GO!

  10. “When I give you this signal, you say, “Ooooh!”

  11. Make statements that grab the attention of the audience and bring those back in, whose minds have wandered.

  12. Examples:

  13. This is Important!”

  14. “That’s worth repeating!”

  15. “If you get nothing but this fro my presentation today, this is it! Ready?”

  16. Use Humor!

  17. The audience loves to be entertained and humor is a great tool to use. Those who missed it will start paying attention! (At least for a while.)

  18. Be certain your presentation is Audience Centered.

  19. It’s not about you, the speaker. The audience wants to know what’s in it for them. Be focused on their needs and you’ll have more attention to your message.

  20. Use Props.

  21. Audiences have three learning Styles: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic.

  22. Using two or more helps them GET IT! and keeps their attention.

  23. Example: PowerPoint/Keynote is a Prop. Use high quality, universally understood images, and you provide the text with your voice.

  24. Blank (black) slides will keep the attention of the audience and switch their eyes from the screen to you, the presenter.

  25. Paint a Word Picture for them.

  26. Example: “Picture this. Your boss calls you into her office early Monday morning, and says, . . .”

  27. Make your Audience Paint a Picture in their Mind’s Eye.

  28. Example: “Picture your favorite coffee cup.”

  29. Doing this will personalize that picture!

  30. Maximize your use of Facial Expressions, Gestures, and Body Movement.

  31. NonVerbal Communication trumps Verbal Communication.

  32. Using these “tools” will keep their attention as they look at you.

  33. Standing behind a lectern and “talking” is b-o-r-i-n-g!

Keep your Audience’s attention by doing things that get them involved in your Presentation and Your next Speech will be – NO SWEAT!

For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you Two FREE Gifts: An Elevator Speech Template and an Elevator Speech Worksheet.  (Who hasn’t struggled with their Elevator Speech!)

Go to: to receive it! (You may be asked to update your profile even if it hasn’t changed. Please do!)

About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book, “No Sweat Public Speaking!” Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts. Perception is reality, and we rather deal with Experts.

They also know: Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities. Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – NO SWEAT!

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