How to immediately grab your audience’s attention

So you’re speaking at an event, or giving an important presentation or even just leading a team meeting. How can you instantly grab the attention of the attendees?

Far too many presenters and leaders get this wrong.

You’ve all heard the phrase, “WIIFM” – What’s in it for me? That’s a great way to start a presentation, by immediately talking about what your audience cares about. But there’s another technique that is even more powerful.

Start by opening a loop

Start by telling a story, and leaving an open loop. Don’t tell your audience how the story ends. Let them know you will cover the ending later in the presentation.

Here’s an example I use in my presentations to financial advisers:

Joe was a very successful business owner. He was looking for a new financial adviser who could meet his new and more complicated needs. A colleague recommended their adviser. Joe took the meeting and did decide to move his multi-million dollar account to that adviser.

When I asked Joe why he decided to go with that particular adviser, he looked up, scratched his chin and said, “I can tell you exactly when I decided I was going to hire him.”

What did that adviser do? We’ll talk about that shortly.

When I tell this story, every adviser is asking themselves, “What did that adviser do to land a multi-million dollar client? And can I use that technique to get more business?”

Your brain wants to know the answer

This technique taps in the power of WIIFM. It works because it focuses on something your audience cares about deeply.

It taps into the power of storytelling. People are naturally drawn to a good story.

Finally, it taps into our brain’s intense focus on needing to know answers. Opening a loop when telling a story drives the brain to naturally want to seek out some sort of conclusion.

Want to grab your audience’s attention? Tell a story about something that directly impacts them and open a loop. Be sure to close it! And powerfully land your point.

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan is the author of Selling Financial Services to Women – What Men Need to Know and Even Women Will Be Surprised to Learn. She is the co-author of The ... Web: Details