Presenting, how do you keep the audience’s attention?
Get the attention of the audience, hold attention and make a good presentation. One of the factors of a good presentation is the performance: captivating your audience. Very boring presentations that the audience hopes will soon be over, everyone recognizes. It is therefore important to keep the public active and involved. But how do you keep the audience’s attention during your presentation?
Tips to maintain attention
At the end of your presentation, you want the message to get across to your audience. Also that the audience did not fall asleep halfway through. By interactively holding their attention, they will get to the core of the message more quickly. There are a number of tips and methods to make sure you don’t catch people sleeping in the audience.
It is important to have the interest of the audience from the start of the presentation. There are a number of ways to get the public’s interest:
- Personal experience: share a personal experience on the topic. For example, you can ask whether someone else has also experienced this or link it to the topic.
- Video or photo with question: a video or photo for introduction can arouse the interest of the audience. Please note that the picture or video must arouse interest. So keep it simple, but exciting. You can link a question to it, so that the viewer pays attention.
- Topicality: you can, for example, use a headline of a newspaper article (linked to the subject) and respond to it.
- Situation sketch: in case of a problem, you can sketch a situation, in which the purpose of the presentation becomes clear to the audience.
Then explain briefly and clearly what you are going to teach, what the purpose of the presentation is and how long it will take. That way the public knows what is going to happen.
Clarity and simple
Try to keep the content and presentation as simple as possible. When using a PowerPoint, it is recommended not to use pieces of text, but to use keywords. Lots of text makes people read it, instead of listening to the presenter. An illustration can also be a good substitute.
Try to stick to the gist of the presentation. After a presentation, the audience often only remembers the main points. Try to emphasize this mainly in your presentation. Try not to make the presentation too long. The human tension arc is too short for a long presentation. A nice and clear PowerPoint also ensures that the attention of the audience remains. An audience’s attention curve is only twenty minutes.
Surprise and engage the audience
By involving the audience in the presentation, you ensure that they find it interesting to listen to. How can you do this? Ask the audience a question, explain the topic, and ask if someone can provide the answer. You also keep them engaged by surprising them in the presentation. By using experiences, quotes, current affairs, illustrations or videos, you alternate between speaking and participating.
Know your audience and content
By asking yourself a number of questions in advance, you can increase involvement. Who is the audience? What prior knowledge do they have? How can I make the topic interesting to them? Ultimately, what is the message they need to remember? Immerse yourself! What would you like to hear and see while in the audience? By having this clear, you can adapt your presentation to the audience. Make it fun for the audience. Just hearing an informative story for fifteen minutes is not pleasant for the audience.
General tips for maintaining attention
- Keep an eye on the purpose of your presentation. Adjust your information, illustrations and content accordingly.
- Know yourself as a presenter. Use your strengths in the presentation. That makes it a lot more pleasant for an audience to listen to. Paying attention to good posture also helps here. Speak calmly, but concerned. The tone of your voice also helps here.
- Are you in doubt? Submit your presentation to someone else. It can indicate where attention is weakening and what is or is not working properly.