How to Keep an Audience's Attention

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One of the most important aspects of giving a presentation is obtaining and keeping the audience's attention for a specified amount of time. Whether you are just beginning as a speaker or you are already experienced, these nine techniques can help you become a more proficient and effective speaker.

Things You'll Need

  • Visuals (charts, graphs, illustrations)
  • Samples (gift packs, business cards, etc)

Begin your presentation with a promise. Giving your audience a promise will keep their attention as they await for you to deliver on your word. For example, tell them specifically what you promise to show them or tell them. Give them a reason to stay for your entire presentation.

Use drama as you speak. Involve your audience by using a variety of emotions. Tell them an emotional story or share a problem that they can all relate to and use emotions.

Make eye contact with as many listeners as possible. As you begin, look at everyone in the audience. Involve them into your speech by staying focused on their eyes and expressions.

Use movement to your advantage. As you speak, move around your audience. Walk through the aisle or around the tables. Doing so makes your audience feel as though they are really a part of your presentation. It makes them feel involved. Make eye contact with your audience members as you walk around.

Keep your listeners active through asking questions. Ask them what they think or if your suggestion was a good idea. Keeping the audience involved by asking questions will also give you a good idea of how many people are paying attention.

Use the audience members to help you demonstrate something. This is a deeper level of involvement from the audience, but it will capture their attention faster.

Use visuals. Audience members like a variety of things to focus on. Use charts, graphs and other illustrations to help assist in your presentation. In addition to visuals, keep a flip chat nearby so that you can write questions or concerns from your audience members.

Use samples. If you are giving a presentation about a specific type of product, give away samples or handout sheets. You can play different games and give the samples to winners, or to those who may volunteer throughout the presentation.

At the end of your presentation, thank your audience for coming. Give them your contact information (website address or email address) and encourage them to contact you with any questions or suggestions. If you have a small enough audience, you can put together gift packs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Review your presentation before giving it to an audience.
  • Make sure that you stay within the specific amount of time you are scheduled for.

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