You have two minutes. In two minutes the audience will make up their mind about you—whether to tune you out or give you a chance. If you love people and deeply want to influence their lives with your message, those first two minutes are mission critical.
So here is the #1 way to immediately grab your audience’s attention:
Okay. Not literally. But begin with something of similar effect—an analogy, a story, quote, or prop. Within ten seconds you will be able to hear a pin drop.
Analogies are terrific. As an example, think of when something in your life (a relationship, a career) doesn’t sit right. It can feel like a pebble in your shoe. And rationalizing it away is like shifting your foot around until you don’t feel the pebble anymore. But that darn pebble keeps showing up. So eventually you have to deal with it. See? Analogy brings a kind of “aha” moment right out of the gate.
Stories are a close second. The best stories are personal stories. Especially self-deprecating stories.
Humor is a great attention grabber. However! And this is a big however. Humor is do or die. If you try to be funny and you aren’t, it’s curtains. If you aren’t naturally funny, or you don’t have a true gift of wit and humor, tread lightly. Stick to the other ways to grab and keep attention.
Quotes are okay. But should be your last option. They are a bit impersonal and institutional. But if that’s all you got, then by all means….
Props are my favorite. I’m a visual speaker. Probably because I’m a visual learner. So are most other people. Even if folks aren’t visual learners, the prop will still grab their attention.
I once used a red foam finger to talk about blame. Blaming others. Blaming ourselves. I used it throughout to hold the audience’s attention and drive the point home. People still talk about the message to this day. They will never view a foam finger, nor blame, the same again. Boom! That’s what you’re after.
You can apply all these “snap” elements not just to presentations, talks, and sermons, but also to conversations, meetings, life lessons with your kids, and the like.
Keep in mind you are not using these attention grabbing “tactics” to be cute or clever. I don’t view them as tactics, but keys. They are your keys to unlocking the front door of people’s fatigued, distracted minds and hearts to engage with you and all of your life changing message.
Finally, you may be wondering where you get (and keep) ideas for analogies, stories, quotes, and props? That’s for another post. Stay tuned!
Any other thoughts? Is there anything you would add? Got questions? Hit me up!