April 17, 2013

Seven Tips to Capture Your Audience’s Attention from the Get-Go

Attracting your audience’s attention and keeping it – it’s the goal of every presenter and an art in itself. Here are some tips on how to give your presentation that extra something to get your audience on board right from the start.

Here are seven tips to get your presentation off on the right foot.

  1. Start your presentation with something unexpected – a personal anecdote, a surprising fact or a burning question (“Have you ever wondered why…”). Just make sure whatever you choose has a relevant connection to your presentation’s content. Starting with something a little surprising is a fun way to pique your audience’s attention right from the beginning.


2. Try incorporating a current event or news item. Be it the latest research (“Yesterday the study results were published…”) or other important news your audience may have heard (“On the radio this morning…”) – a current reference arouses interest and shows that you are up to date on your topic.


3. Feel like getting creative? Add some mystery to your presentation with a cryptic image. You can display two seemingly unrelated objects on one of your opening slides and ask your audience what they have in common. The answer to the mystery will, of course, be revealed through the course of your presentation.


4. From cryptic visuals to word play: why not try metaphors in your presentation? Using metaphors right at the top of your presentation is a great way to make your message memorable. The vivid imagery that metaphors evoke helps explain complex topics and is a great way to spark your audience’s imagination.

5. What’s your favorite movie? Humans are visual creatures and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like a good film. Share your passion with your audience and start your presentation with a short film, no longer than 5 minutes. You can then hold a brief Q&A with your audience that leads straight to your first statement.

6. You can also start your presentation by pushing the envelope. Open with a provocative statement and give it a moment to sink in. Your audience will be curious, amused and immediately want to know more. Try to avoid topics that may be considered personal – this will only generate a negative response from your audience.

7. Jump in with a quote that relates to your topic. Sayings from important personalities can give your statements more weight and credibility. Quotes have many functions – they can make and audience smile, laugh or motivate them to think.


Bonus tip: Executives are often pressed for time so keep it brief when presenting to management. Get to your point quickly and present your main statement right at the beginning. They’ll thank you for it.

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