How to keep the audience’s attention through your entire presentation

One of the biggest challenges of any presenter or speaker is keeping their audience’s attention throughout a presentation. One man who never failed to do so is Steve Jobs. In fact Jobs was so good at it the forthcoming biopic of his life (starring Ashton Kutcher as S.J.) is to be based around three of his presentations. When the iPhone was first introduced in the market in 2007 it was a much heralded piece of technology that marked a great step forward in mobile communications. But it was Steve Jobs’s skills as a presenter that made the keynote speech that introduced the iPhone viral and really caught the world’s attention.

Jobs’s first two sentences that day were key. He opened his presentation by saying “This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for two and a half years. Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.” His choice of words like “revolutionary” and “changes” created natural curiosity among the listeners. It was a great start. But Jobs went on to to wow his audience for his entire presentation. He not only captured their attention but then held it too.

Carmine Gallo, author of the book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs said, “Steve transformed the typical, dull, technical, plodding slideshow into a theatrical event complete with heroes, villains, a supporting cast, and stunning backdrops. People who witness a Steve Jobs presentation for the first time describe it as an extraordinary experience.”

We have listed below some of the top methods you can practice in order to capture and hold your audience’s attention, just like Steve.

1. Tell a Story
Everyone loves to hear a story. It’s a great way to add a personal angle, making it easy for your audience to connect with the story. However, make sure that your story or anecdote is not too long and is directly related to your topic.

2. Crack a joke
Lighten up the audience by telling a joke related to the topic. Most presentations are technical and could bore your audience. A well placed joke endears you to the audience. But be sure that your jokes won’t offend, especially when presenting in a foreign country.

3. Asking questions
Encourage your audience to participate in the discussion by asking a question. This will encourage interaction, engagement and attention. There are few things to remember when asking a question:

A. Avoid asking an open ended question.
B. Avoid asking a too general question such as, “What is life?”
C. Wait for your audience to respond, but don’t wait for too long because they might feel stupid.

4. State a fact
You can narrate a recent case study connected to your topic or state a possible outcome of a related problem. If you manage to come up with one or two surprising facts this will wake up the audience and grab their attention.

5. Disturb your audience’s comfort zone
If you are just standing in front of the room, your listeners are in their comfort zone. However, if you walk closer to them, or even just walk up and down the stage it will grab your audience’s attention.

What Next?

You will be taught these tips and discover many more techniques that will transform your presentation skills on our presentation training course.

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