Hooking your audience is key to drawing them in and holding their attention. A hook is a crucial part of your speech consisting of your opening words that serves to prick the ears of the audience and make them want to hear more.
If you get your presentation off on the right foot, you’ll have a much better chance of holding your listeners’ attention to the end.
The Best Bait for the Job
There are many ways to grab your audience’s attention.
- – You can surprise them with a fact they probably don’t know: “Did you know that pigs are physically incapable of looking up at the sky while standing?” That could apply to a speech about thinking outside of the box or one that seemingly has nothing to do with your subject until you fill them in.
- – You can use a story to reel them in. Telling a great story gets people interested in your point of view and makes them want to hear more about how the story ties in to your presentation. In the video below Martin Presse talks about how to do this effectively. A story also serves as a great takeaway that, when done well, is easy to remember and helps your audience remember what you said long after your speech is over.
- – You can share a personal experience. Tell the audience something about yourself that they can relate to. Perhaps something specific happened in your life that brought you to where you are now. Share that with your audience as a way of illustrating that you understand their situation because you have lived it yourself and have some wisdom to share now.
- – You can ask for audience involvement. “Imagine a world where…” Getting people to participate by thinking draws them in and makes them feel like they are a part of your presentation. It also provides a great touchstone for your wrap up. You can refer back to your opening after talking about how your product or idea can help make that world a reality for them.
- – You can use a proverb. Foreign proverbs are especially useful because many people will not have heard them before.
Practice Reeling Them In
Look back at the opening of one of your previous speeches and think about how you can improve it. Practice adding a proverb or a story or mine the Internet for an interesting but little-known fact about something you can tie in to your speech.
Or get ready for an upcoming speech using one of these techniques.
Think about the kind of impact you want to have on your audience when choosing a technique. Do you want them motivated to a specific action? Try sharing personal experience or asking for their involvement.
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