10 Ways to Keep Your Audience Interested

                                10 Ways to Keep Your Audience Interested


1 Use humour

Humour is an excellent way to get people back into your speech. Not only does everyone enjoy a good joke or a funny story. It gets the attention of audience members whose thoughts were elsewhere, Keep it clean and relevant to your subject


2 Ask a question

Use words like. How many of you, when last did you, have you ever? Sentences that begin with why, when, who, what. Also, remember that when you ask the question use both hands in a gesture to show you are expecting a question.” (back of the hands, at waist level facing audience pulled toward you) If no questions are asked then be prepared by saying, “a question some people ask, is.’


3 Say something surprising

You could also make a shocking statement, I remember a speaker who got my attention when she said, “In this 10-minute talk of mine, four women would be raped in our country” Or, “A person driving on our roads today has less chance of returning home alive than a soldier going to fight in a war’


4 Practice vocal variety

Some speakers have such flat and dreary presentations that they would probably earn more money from selling copies of their talks to people suffering from insomnia!  When you vary the volume, pace, inflection and enunciate clearly, even use alliteration, your audience will pay attention. You can whisper and people will sit forward, fully involved while they listen to your message. It’s all about Vocal Vitality


5 Use visual aids

Visual aids that enhance your message and don’t become your message. Movement keeps your listeners attention because it adds variety to what they see, that’s probably why some shops have moving displays in their windows. As a trainer once said “move around a bit, then if they don’t agree with what you are saying and begin throwing things at you, it’s not so easy to hit a moving target.”


6 Use the power of pausing

Many presenters speak rather quickly, instead of making a statement, then pausing while the audience has an opportunity ti reflect on what was said. It also can cause a moment of suspense. Jim Rohn was a master of this technique, he would make a statement, ask a question and then stop talking while looking around the room, then he would answer, whilst all the time keeping the attention on what he was saying. Once when Jim spoke to us in Cape Town, ha asked, “Why do many people attend seminars, read good books and yet never seem to change or improve? After a short pause, he answered “I don’t know, some people do and some don’t, it’s just the way it is” This is also known as the pause that refreshes.


7 know your audience

Speak in terms of your audiences interests, their frames of reference, what are the demographics, regarding age, gender, culture education etc. For instance, you may be speaking on the advantage of learning to speak in public, to an audience of young varsity students, most of them with driving licences, recently acquired, you could compare learning to drive in public with learning to speak in public, “You can only learn to drive by getting behind a steering-wheel, similarly, you can only learn to speak in public by getting behind a lecturn. In these ways, your audience will keep listening because you are speaking in terms of their interests.


8 “What’s in it for me” WII-FM

Almost everyone in your audience is tuned into a radio station known as WII FM They are asking, what’s ‘in it for me and if you can answer that question the people you are addressing will keep listening. When they see the value, they will keep paying attention.


9 Take a break

Just as you have body language that speaks to me, so too, the audience has a collective body language which speaks to you.  Be alert to these signals, are they becoming restless, shifting in their seats, yawning, looking at their watches? Maybe it’s time to have a brief stretch or sand-box break, perhaps a break away session. Bear in mind, the brain can only absorb what the seat can endure. Be sensitive to the comfort of the audience, if the temperature is on the warm side, they will start dozing, too cold and they begin shivering, you may not succeed in satisfying all your audience’s needs, as long as the majority are paying attention


10 End on a high note

When you start and end with a dynamic style, your audience will give you all the attention you desire. Give a summary of the main points of your message, have a call for action, close with a story, or a quote and experiment with different ways of closing in this way, don’t allow a good talk to fizzle out at the end


Be sincere be brief be seated


“My function is to speak, yours is to listen. Hoping that I will stop speaking before you stop listening”




Martin Louw

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