In keeping with one of the very rules I am teaching here (because I learned it from someone else) I took a blog post that was over 1,000 words and broke it up into 2 parts to make it easier to digest. Here are 4 more tips on How to regain and retain your audience’s interest.
Every once in a while I stop and ask the audience, “Does that make sense?” This has a way of engaging the audience and making them aware if they weren’t paying attention. When someone asks that of me and I am not paying attention I make sure I start paying attention because I might actually have to answer.
The Twitter Effect:
The “Twitter” effect – Twitter has taught me by forcing me down to 140 characters to cut out all of the fat. After writing a 280 character sentence I can go back and start to see all of the stuff I put in there that I don’t really need and the message is the same. In fact it often winds up being more potent. As “experts” in our topics we are (hopefully) passionate about them and as such we want to embellish. This is the exact sort of thing that can lose an audience. It goes back to staying focused on a narrow scope. Leave more to the imagination so people are forced to think, wonder, and ultimately if I have really done my job well.. ask questions. I re-read my content several extra times now looking for ways to cut out fat. Less is more!
Master Your Message:
Master your message – Practice, practice, practice – I practice in front of a camera and play it back critiquing myself and looking for areas where I might lose my audience. By doing this, when the time comes for me to get in front of everyone a few important things are in place. I have truly mastered my message. I know the content so well that I can speak with excitement in my voice and I can focus more on the delivery so that when I see that I am losing my audience I can raise my pitch, increase my speed or slow it down in order to grab everyone’s attention. If they are eating stop and ask them how the food is -confront the distraction head on.
Everybody can use a little exercise:
One thing I had a speaker do when I was a participant that worked on me was he started by asking everybody to get up and stretch. This got the blood flowing and woke me up. I might ask people to stand up and stretch with me. I can even spend 15 seconds there on the benefits of stretching – health and otherwise. I can even confront the distraction with complete transparency by saying something like “Hey it looks like I am losing some of you so let’s get up and stretch. it’s good for your health and it will most definitely help my presentation.” I think more and more these days people are embracing transparency as the best policy.