Friday, January 2, 2015

Grabbing the Attention of Your Audience

If you fail to grab the attention of your audience with your opening statement, it won't matter how brilliant the rest of your presentation may be because nobody is going to pay much attention. However if you are fortunate enough to engage them at the very beginning, you will increase their accessibility to all that you are trying to communicate and share. Here are several quick and easy recipes that will help you to hit the ground running.

Make it Personal
There is no faster way to create interest with your audience then in the form of story. Personal accounts, whether they focus on adversity, nostalgia or triumph, can create an instant rapport. The audience wants to know that you can relate to things that they have gone through in their lives.  Quite often presenters will talk at their audience, instead of to them with the same canned speech that they have used for every audience, regardless of the age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or level of education to name a few.

Share a Fact or Statistical Information
Sharing a key fact or piece of data that relates to your topic and may affect your audience and ease the introduction of a challenging topic.  For example, if you were doing a workshop on social marketing, one could kick off the session by explaining the differences between traditional and social marketing and why social marketing is able to influence and change difficult behaviors.

Keep Them on the Edge of Their Seats
If you manage to pique the attention of your audience in the very beginning, there is a great chance that they will be with you throughout your presentation. Remember to always invite your audience to participate in your discussion.

To pull your audience into your presentation, it can be helpful to orient them with a series of connected “reality snapshots”.  If you were presenting about affordable housing and ways to avoid evictions, your audience will be interested in hearing how others, like them, are dealing high rents and unfair eviction practices. Your audience will be on the edge of their seats for every detail and to learn ways to prevent it from happening to them and to their family and friends.

Using Humor
If you are an extrovert, a real people person with a great sense of humor, by all means do use that magnetic personality at the right times. It can serve to reduce anxiety by making people feel comfortable, lighten the mood and it can leave your participants looking forward to your next thought.  However, if you are not normally a funny person, it’s recommended not to even try pretending. An audience can immediately identify a fake or nervous presenter. The greatest path to success is to be yourself.

Training Tip
Try to discover the background of your potential participants that will be attending your training.  Knowing as much about them can only be an asset to the trainer. When doing a presentation on a certain topic, it’s always best to know how much your audience will know about the topic, which will help you, the trainer to better target his or her presentation as not to bore the audience. 

Need help brainstorming your next training or community engagement, contact us at Promotions West: