get audience attention

Presentation Quick Tip #6 - How To Keep Your Audience Engaged

One of the biggest fears or moments of panic is when you see your audience becoming disinterested in your presentation. They are either not paying attention, being distracted by the latest game or, more than likely, the latest Grumpy Cat photo. Whatever it may be, you as the presenter hate that moment. But it doesn't have to be that way...

Check out the video for a quick explanation of what to do or keep reading for an in-depth look at this topic.

If YouTube is unavailable in your area, please click the following link to watch or right-click to download: Presentation Quick Tip #6 - How To Keep Your Audience Engaged

Video length 1:08  

Yes, it's true that people have a limited attention span, but it doesn't mean we have to let that rule, or ruin, our presentations. What you have to do is re-engage or reacquire their attention just before their attention span heads south.

How long before that happens?

Most experts say that human attention span ranges from 5-10 minutes, depending on which expert you're referring to. With so many distractions, especially from always present smart phones, I'm sure the limits of human attention have gone down.

In the case of presentations, it's better to err on the lower end of the scale. Therefore, I suggest re-engaging or re-acquiring the audience's attention once every 3-5 minutes.

Great, but how the heck do I do that??

To be honest, it actually doesn't matter what you do. The point is that if you've been speaking for a few minutes, you have to break the monotony and snap people out of their trance. I'm not saying that your content is boring. I'm just saying that you must do something.

For example, you could show, or talk about, something relevant to your presentation. A video demonstrating your point is always good. In fact, Apple uses this technique in all their presentations.

Another thing you could do is give your audience an interesting fact or statistic that reinforces what you're saying. Again, just make sure it's relevant.

If you have time and it's appropriate, or if you plan it, you could tell a personal story related to your topic. But be careful that the outcome of your story isn't predictable or your audience will lose interest before you ever finish.

Finally, a live demo of some sort can also be used. If possible, get your audience directly involved to connect them what you're saying in a more direct, tangible way.

The point is...

Whatever you do, just make sure you do it and be aware of your presentation's timing so your audience never has a chance to go off into la-la land... Unless that's what you're trying to do.

Thanks and talk to you next week.




Hi, it's Carl Kwan here with Presentation Quick Tip #6.

In this week's video, you're going to learn about how to time and space out the content in your presentation to keep your audience from getting bored.

Now, everyone has a very limited attention span.

They can only pay attention for maybe 3-5 minutes, maybe 7 minutes if you're lucky.

So what you wanna do is after 3-5 minutes, you wanna say, "But here's something really interesting."

And then present a fact or a statistic or some kind of really interesting piece of information that will re-engage your audience.

And make sure though that that piece of information really is interesting or they're still gonna be bored.

So remember, if you want to engage your audience and keep their attention, and make sure they don't kinda start dozing off, every 3-5 minutes introduce something that is going to be interesting to them…A stat or a figure, or whatever kind of fact or information that they will find interesting, that'll re-engage them.

And that is Presentation Quick Tip #6.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below this video.

Thanks for watching.

Talk to you again soon.


Just when you think you know it all...

This is related to presentations, so just bear with me for a second... I recently set up an email list here on my website to help with getting my videos out to people so they wouldn't have to visit the site. I've set up this type of thing on other websites more than a few times. I thought I knew what I was doing. Wrong!

I've now sent two emails to my very patient subscribers, who I'm sure are wondering what the heck is wrong with me, that have had nothing but the template text from my email management service. Not good.

What's this have to do with presentations?

You can probably guess that I'm going to say you can never take anything for granted, that you should always prepare your presentations as if you're doing it for the first time... With the presentation being better each time, hopefully.

But beyond that, it's important to keep improving your overall presentation skills. And in my opinion, one of the coolest things I've been reading up on is dramatic writing techniques. The same stuff used by novelists and screenwriters to rivet audiences in books and film.


Quite simply because dramatic writing techniques are meant to capture the reader or audience's attention and take them on a ride... An emotional one that permeates into a person's heart and head.

Now doesn't that sound like something your presentations could use?

So pick up a book on dramatic writing techniques, read the parts about creating emotional impact, story types and how to grab the reader or audience member's attention. My current favourite is "Writing For Emotional Impact" by Karl Iglesias.

And keep learning!

Does Your Presentation Need A TV Commercial? (Lesson 1)

One of the most important things you need to do in any presentation is get the audience's attention. It's a topic that I've covered on many occasions but is something that needs to be repeated again because it is very important to understand how to get and keep the audience's attention during a presentation. Using Videos In Presentations

So today, I'm going to talk about one such way of getting the audience's attention. There are several other ways that I will teach in the coming weeks but today we will start with using video to get and keep attention during a presentation. And notice that I say during the presentation and not at the beginning of the presentation.

Why Use Videos In Presentations?

The reason why is because we often forget how short a person's attention span really is. It's important to recapture a person's attention in the middle of your presentation, as well as at the start of your presentation.

Check out the video below for the full details of using video in a presentation. You can also read the full transcript below the video. And be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback about what I taught. I would love to hear from you.


Video Transcript

Quick! What is something you have to do more than anything else in a presentation?

(Buzz) Time's up!

If you said you have to know your audience, be well prepared, or practice a lot you would be correct. However, that's not the right answer in this case. The correct answer and the thing that is most important in any presentation, is getting and keeping the audience's attention. And I'm not just talking about at the beginning of your presentation. I'm talking about during your presentation because people have a limited attention span. So before you get bored, let me show you what to do.

You might not like TV commercials during your favorite TV programs but a video is a great way to get the audience's attention and keep it for a short time during your presentation. You should prepare to use a video for every 3 to 5 minutes of speaking. That means that if your presentation is 20 minutes long you will need three to four videos. For a 10 minute presentation, one video will be okay.

The video should be short like a commercial, about 15 to 30 seconds or even 45 seconds at the most. It must also be relevant to your presentation topic and be interesting for your audience. The video could be an interview with somebody talking about your presentation topic, or a demonstration, or a story about somebody's experience related to your topic.

If there is already a video available, great. But if not, it's pretty easy to make your own video. Just make sure you have good lighting from a window or shoot the video outside in the morning or late afternoon. And if someone is speaking, try to get him or her close to the camera so the sound will be good and so you won't need any special audio equipment.

Making a video does take some preparation but the effort will be worth it because your overall presentation will be that much better.

And this is really important, make sure you get to the presentation venue early to test your video on the equipment. Make sure your video works before you give the presentation or else your efforts will go to waste and you could be really embarrassed during your presentation if the video doesn't work properly.

So there you have it. One of the most effective ways to get the audience's attention during your presentation. Next time, I will talk about another great way to get and keep the audiences attention during a presentation. Let me know what you think about getting the audience's attention by leaving a comment in the comments section below.

Thank you for watching and talk to you again next time.


Carl Kwan is a presentations, promo-video, and marketing consultant based in Seoul, South Korea. Carl specialises in presentations skills training, customised presentation design, video work to promote your company and marketing advice for local and global clients. Get in touch with Carl to discuss how he can help you and your organisation.