Keeping an audiences’ attention is a constant balance of showmanship, compelling content, efficient delivery, and a great audience. It is harder if a presentation is less interactive, since the audience does little except sit and listen.Saw a speaker today who had 7 points (what happened to three and a poem?), which is far more than any mortal can remember. And while each was interesting in its own right, the parts were likely more interesting than the whole. This is a perfect setup for audience checkout.I’m always interested in seeing little one-liners and attention gimics, and this speaker provided a great one. Right at the movement from point 4 to 5, when the audience was losing a bit of energy, he stopped and asked point blank, “Are you with me? Ready to move on? Are you? Well, ready or not, it’s coming.” It was good for a short laugh, and got everyone’s attention back as if it were point #1. Corny, but effective.
A brief break and refocus will help an audience keep paying attention.