The kid sitting on the bench during a ball game is prone to drift away mentally. But the players IN the game stay focused because the know success depends on them.
One of the best ways to get keep audience attention is to include them in the presentation. They actually become participates rather than spectators.
Ask questions. Not rhetorical questions, but questions they can answer out loud. Make comments about the answers received and affirm the individuals who choose to share.
Sad. Happy. Mad. Excited. How do you want the audience to respond? When people make a positive emotional investment they are less likely to turn off a speaker. They listen more intently.
You can control how people feel. I have mentioned before about the death of my wife. I can tell that story straight and with little emotion and the audience will feel little. Or I can go into great detail and allow my pain to show. What happens? Tissues appear. People wipe their eyes and blow their noses. It involves the audience in my sadness and they are glad to share in that because it makes the coming points even more valuable to their lives.
Bring a person to the stage for a demonstration. Of course you can’t predict what a person might do so there’s risk. That’s what makes the audience sit up and lean in.
Are there ways in your message that you could include an audience member. In one of my keynotes I have two blue jars on stage. One contains wealth, the other contains waste. It would be easy and convenient for me to break the jars. But it’s much more engaging for an audience member to do so.
Plan for involvement. Actively look for ways to draw the crowd in to the message. Include them mentally, emotionally, and physically so they cannot forget the principles you have taught.
Paul Evans is the executive creator of http://www.InstantSpeakingSuccess.com and http://www.PresentationPowerSecrets.com His 20 years of public speaking experience help over 24,000 speakers around the work each week through his free public speaking ezine.