Starting a speech is never easy even if you deliver one every day. You not only have to have something worthwhile to say, but you also have to say it in a way that connects and engages with your audience.
Never assume that your spectators are paying attention: they may be looking at you but thinking about their next meeting for example. This is why you need to actively engage your audience right from the start. Go beyond the conventional and usual. Capture their attention, feed their imagination and make them part of the presentation.
Use our 7 tips to hook your audience and make your presentation memorable and powerful.
1. Tell a story
People love stories and especially the ones they can connect with. Telling a story is the most natural way of hooking the attention and the most easier to connect with your audience. Sharing experiences and emotions will remind them you are a human being and that will make you more pertinent.
2. Add humour to your talk
People can sit and listen for hours but you have to create an interaction between you and them. Using humour is not an easy task but using a relevant good joke will make people laugh. If you can get them laughing, they will feel more relaxed and comfortable which will make you more confident.
However, try your jokes on your friends and/or family first to avoid jokes that could establish a bad atmosphere
3. Ask your audience questions
Asking questions to your audience will make them participate. Don’t be afraid of not getting an answer: even if no one replies, everyone is participating mentally and that is what you want.
Use rhetorical questions and play with the effect they provide. In fact, when you ask a rhetorical question, leave a few moments of silence. You will get the attention and the focus on you.
4. Surprise the audience
- Use numbers and highlight them. Numbers stir up the attention and reengage the focus. Therefore, saying a number will automatically hooky our audience and help their brain to listen. A person pays better attention when you say, “There are two strategies you can use to solve this situation. The first one is… The second is… ”. However, do not use too much nor too big numbers: your spectators can lose the counts and that will end up with you trying desperately to get their attention back.
- Use keywords and emphasize them. The voice tone you use is very significant. It helps the audience to focus on the keywords you want them to pay particular attention to. If you speak using the same voice tone throughout your entire presentation, no one could know what is really important.
5. Combination of Question and Surprise
Combining both tips #3 and #4 is even more powerful.
Ask a question that has an answer no one would have thought about. For example, you can ask people what would be essential between Option1 and Option2 when the answer is none of them. That will surprise them and make them instantly intrigued. They will, then, want to know more and understand.
6. Provide belief statement
Hearing someone who agrees, or, on the contrary, hearing someone who disagrees with our opinions will always grab our attention. Act accordingly and use a relevant and controversial opinion you have to hook the attention of your audience. Even if they disagree, they will want to hear and understand your reasoning.
7. Use silence effectively
The silence is, during a presentation, one of your best friends. Not only it gives you the time to breathe but it also allows you to catch attention.
In fact, if you keep throwing more and more words without giving them time to your audience to understand and follow the information you are delivering, they will just stop listening. However, giving a piece of information and remaining silent for a quick moment right after, will allow people to catch your sentence and think quickly about the next one. You will have their full attention then.
Moreover, silence makes people feel they have permission to participate. You are saying, without words, that they can interrupt you. That makes people comfortable as you are encouraging them to speak to and with you. If you talk nonstop, you will never hook your audience.
Use all these tips during your presentation and you will never lose the attention of your audience. Let your talk be powerful and engaging. Do not hesitate to give us feedback after using those tips.
The article was written by Tatiana Ugolini
This article is also available on Medium: https://medium.com/@client_62668/7-tips-to-hook-your-audience-during-a-presentation-b5cb4c116c02
You can watch the last talk of Flavilla Fongang, the founder of 3 Colours Rule, and see how she applies those tips during her presentation.