Eight Best Ways to Grab and Keep Your Audience’s Attention from the First Sentence
We’ve all witnessed that special speech that left the entire audience in awe. Everyone was paying attention to the speaker, and it looked like the audience had gained a whole other level of understanding on the topic.
We’ve all witnessed some lukewarm speeches, too, even some utter failures, no doubt, where everyone was bored, waiting for the relief of the final sentence.
Which type of speech do you want to give?
Of course, you want to make it memorable. You want to amaze everyone in the audience. You expect them to nod in agreement, consider something new, and ask questions to trigger a discussion after the speech.
To achieve that, you’ll need to pay close attention to every aspect of your speech, right from the very first sentence that you utter.
1. State the Facts
Nelson’s Mandela’s I Am Prepared to Die is one of the most powerful speeches ever heard. Its power is in its simplicity. Everything he said was straightforward, true, and eye-opening.
No fuss, no decorations, no act. But “I am Prepared to Die” is an unexpected fact that is enough to grab everyone’s interest from the outset.
2. Share Something Personal
Sharing something personal shows that you’re not trying to teach something; you are coming from personal experience.
It’s especially important to emphasize the need for a personal touch if you’re getting speeches and essays written for you. When providing guidelines, take the time to explain what you expect from the speech, and write down the experience that you want to share in the beginning. Then, explain how you want that experience to connect with the main theme. A speech written by a professional writer must feel like it was written by you. Its foundation is in the instructions, so take your time to communicate with the writer.
3. Keep it Short and Sweet
Throughout your education, you’ve probably encountered teachers who didn’t know how to fill in a 50-minute class. They spoke at great length, repeating the same things over and over. That’s something you want to avoid when writing a speech.
If you have control over the length, keep the speech as short as you can so you wrap up before everyone stops listening to you. You should also get to the point as soon as possible.
4. It’s Not Just about the Words
A speech also consists of your stance, tone, posture, rhythm, facial expressions, and entire body language. From the moment you step in front of the audience, you grab their attention with the way you look.
Everybody has an inner magnetism. You just need to discover your strengths and work on them. Is it your smile, your posture, or the way you communicate with your eyes? Practice and perfect your attitude in front of a mirror; it’s what sets up your public speech for success before you say a word.
5. Create Great Slides
If you use slides, the first one should grasp the entire message. You’ll work on the design, but the headline is its most important aspect.
Here’s a suggestion: write a headline that implies action. For example, instead of writing “World Birth Rate in 2021”, write “We’re Becoming Fewer!” The alternative captures attention with emotion and action.
6. Trigger Interaction
How do you feel about starting your speech with a question and expecting an actual answer from the audience?
If you’re flexible enough, you can maintain the event’s theme while responding to the answers and creating a discussion around them.
7. Make It Emotional
If you’re trying to write, say, a powerful military speech, you won’t solely focus on strategies and events. You can add more meaning by arousing emotions. You can achieve that through humor, sharing personal stories, or revealing devastating facts.
Humor, in particular, is a great trigger of emotion at the start of a speech. But be careful, it works only if you’re natural at it. Never try to force a joke just because you want to start with something funny.
8. Make It about the Audience
Take a look at some of the most influential speeches throughout history. You’ll notice they have something in common: the person speaking is not self-absorbed. You’ll connect with the audience if you focus on their situation and point of view.
About the author:
Robert Griffith is a lover of history, literature, and art. He writes blog posts with the hope to inspire people to read and write more. Robert didn’t use to enjoy writing, but he proved that if you’re focused, you can achieve any goal you set.
This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.