The biggest fear of public speaking is what would my audience say? What happens if they are not interested? Capturing the audience attention is challenging, and from the onset is daunting. But if you can do it, you will be hooked on to public speaking. In today’s fast world, especially with so much portable gizmos, the speaker has to grab the audience attention from the word go or they may start doing other thing. Here’s some tips of capturing the audience attention from the word go.
Get acclimatised: Join the crowd before the presentation. The last few minutes is not for going through you notes but mingling with them. This helps you to get rapport with the future audience, know them. This may help you to tweak your speech at the last minute to suit their needs. Moreover it will help you to be at ease in the presentation, by having some familiar faces in the audience. When you stand up to speak, first smile, look around the room and make eye contact with some of your audience. A smile can instantly relax you and everyone else in the room.
Catchy Title and opening: The title is your audience’s first exposure to your speech. It potentially will appear in an event program or agenda. It will be used when you are introduced and welcomed on the podium. It is the “Tag Line” for your speech and provides a first opportunity to influence and warm up your audience. It is your first (and perhaps only) chance to market your speech. A compelling title which invokes curiosity has a potentiality to attract a large audience. A title could be used to plant an assumption or confuse / misdirect the audience to add emphasis to the opening message of your speech. You can even ask a provocative question, or use a dramatic statistic to hook the crowd right away.
Humour: Add some humor in the first few moments if you can. Adding humour is the best communication skills one can have in their arsenal. Not all talks call for humour, but if it's appropriate, some funny talk will help you to relax as well as your audience. Be careful while adding humour to a speech, it shouldn’t hurt your audience feelings.
Eye Contact: Practice your speech before you hit the podium. Make sure you are not reading from your notes while speaking. Make Eye contact with the audience, this will give the impression you have command on your topic and are confident. And, its human nature to get attracted towards a confident personality. Avoid this by not writing out every word of your speech. Use an outline instead.
Follow the above steps and show positive energy and enthusiasm when you get to the podium. Capture the audience in the first seconds, and you'll have them for the rest of your talk.