How to Capture an Audience in Five Seconds

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Capturing your audience's attention quickly can be challenging, but once you learn how, you'll be hooked on public speaking. With so much electronic competition, today's speaker has to grab audience members right from the beginning if he wants to keep them. Here's how to capture your audience within the first five seconds of your talk.

  • Join the crowd before the official presentation begins. Instead of sitting off by yourself going over your notes, mingle with the people. Get some rapport going with your future audience. This will give you a great first impression and make you feel more at ease.

  • Grab them even before you start talking. When you stand up to speak, first smile, look around the room and make eye contact with some of your audience. A smile can instantly relax you and everyone else in the room.

  • Provide a catchy opening. Say something unexpected or startling. You can ask a provocative question, or use a dramatic statistic to hook the crowd right away.

  • Add some humor in the first few moments if you can. Not all talks call for humor, but if it's appropriate, some funny talk will loosen you up as well as your audience.

  • Practice what you're going to say in those first few moments so you won't need to look at your notes. That really goes for the rest of your speech, too. The audience doesn't want to hear you read or even see you constantly look down at your notes. Avoid this by not writing out every word of your speech. Use an outline instead.

  • Show positive energy and enthusiasm when you get to the podium. Capture the audience in the first seconds, and you'll have them for the rest of your talk.

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