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Attention getters for speeches are great to catch and engage your audience’s attention. Your target as a speaker must be to captivate and maintain your audience’s attention right from the start as quickly as you can. Interesting speech attention grabbers are words that can actually grab your listeners’ hearts and minds into paying attention to what you are saying.
According to research by Microsoft, the attention span of the average person is less than that of a goldfish – highlighting the more reason why your first 10 to 60 seconds of a speech is critical.
When you’re preparing for a speech, an introduction is one of the most important parts of the presentation. As you are about to speak to the audience, you must get their attention.
There are some simple methods you can use to achieve this goal. First, use real-life examples or impressive statistics. If possible, it’s best if these examples are based in reality, as they will naturally grab your audience’s attention.
In addition to using real-life examples, you can also start with a question you will answer during the speech.
When crafting your speech, remember that most people recall only 50 percent of what they hear after one day, and only 20 percent after one week. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your speech has a good hook at the beginning that will keep people’s attention long enough to hear the rest of the message.
You know you’ve got their attention when they start engaging in other activities such as taking notes or looking at the speaker (not the other way around). You can also note down whether your guests are paying close attention to what you are saying. You know you are getting the audience’s attention if they are leaning forward or if they react in some way (for example, by nodding their heads).
Below are some of the best attention getters for speeches you can use.
Begin with a question
A great way to grab an audience’s attention right from the get-go is to start with a rhetorical question. It’s a potent communication tool that allows you to immediately command the thoughts and attention of your audience right from the beginning of your speech as you go on to explain your point further.
Questions help inspire dialogue and make your listeners feel like they are participating in the presentation rather than being spoken to. The audience will begin to feel like they are part of your presentation rather than just a spectator, which is what you want when giving a speech.
Starting with a rhetorical question at the beginning phase of your speech is not necessarily because you want an answer from your audience. It’s just posed to engage the audience and persuading their thoughts and attention to follow the rest of your speech. A good example could be, “Why is it that we doubt ourselves when we fail a few times?” This question will work best for a start-up business speech.
Think about it – you have their attention for only 20 minutes, so why not get them interested right away?
First, you want to set the stage. Why are you here? What is the purpose of your speech? A good way to hook people is to ask a question that makes them want to know more. Asking a question allows you to have authority and power over the audience – you are in control of what they know and how they feel about your speech.
To go one step further, make sure to ask and answer your question at the beginning of your speech. Once you set the scene, the rest will be easy.
You want to hook the audience first and ask yourself, ‘What is a relevant question that will make people want to hear more?’ One of the greatest ways to get your audience to pay attention is to have them participate in your speech presentation. Ask a question at the beginning of your speech and maybe even have an answer sheet so they’ll be prepared.
Share a captivating story
Do you have any interesting stories around the topic of your speech you can share? A story will draw people in and set the stage for your speech. Whether you’re speaking to a small group or an entire conference, using a personal story can grab people’s attention and reinforce your topic.
Never underestimate the importance of telling stories – use powerful examples from your life and career to illustrate your points. Good stories in a speech can hook the audience and make your message memorable. Use analogies, metaphors, anecdotes and stories to make the presentation personal.
People naturally become fully engaged with personal stories; they want to know how you were able to navigate your way through the difficulties you faced to reach the top level of success you now have today. Speech like these will engage and motivate a large portion of your audience who aspire to reach your level, and they will listen to every word you tell them.
Interesting statistics or facts
Another awesome way to grab your listeners’ attention right off the bat is to deliver a mind-blowing statistic or intriguing fact. The statistic should be related to the speech you’re presenting. Attention grabbers such as statistics are often used to engage the audience immediately. During a speech, for example, a speaker may say, “According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. debt is a whopping $20 trillion.” Statistics are not only used to “wow” the audience with impressive numbers, but also to show that you have done your research. Statistics should be used sparingly, though, as an opening statement.
Humor has proven to be a timeless attention-getter when making a speech. Humor is an effective way of commanding the mood of your audience. They become happy, even if it is temporal, but much more important is they become interested in what you are saying at that moment.
When introducing your topic, include a humorous story that is related to your topic. Include this story as early in your speech as possible so that your listeners can get to know you and see that you are not just an expert but also a human being who is relatable and likable.
This can make or break your speech, irrespective of the type of speech. When you get your audience to laugh during a speech, you make them think they are actually interested in what you are saying. This is why funny speech introductions are very powerful, it changes the mood of the audience and can set the tone for the rest of the speech.
One of the most effective attention-getter speech techniques is to use examples. Astonishing applicable examples will always get the audience’s attention, no matter the type of speech.
Use comparing adjectives and metaphors with relatable examples about the topic to your audience. For example, your audience may not be interested in the latest government policies, but they will be more interested if you can share relatable examples of how those policies could affect them.
Give examples of what you’re talking about. If you’re going to be talking about outsourcing, for example, give an example of how it has helped someone else. This will help your audience relate to what you are saying and also help them see how it might benefit them if they are considering outsourcing themselves.
A sure way to get your audience to pay attention is to create some conflict or suspense. If you’re a storyteller, think of something that could happen in the story that would set your listeners on edge (or make them excited). It’s also great to talk about how things will get better – particularly for your audience if they can follow along with you or make a suggestion.
Talk about a famous person
Quote someone famous as you open your speech. Not only famous but someone that commands respect, especially with your audience. This is a very effective attention-getter if used perfectly. The famous person should be someone that relates to the topic you’re discussing.
20 Audience attention getters line openers
If you’ve ever been to a celebrity press conference, you’ll notice they tend to use “openers.” An opener is simply when a celebrity starts their speech with a question that involves the audience. A great opener isn’t just one that lets the speaker have a few laughs; it should be something that makes the audience want to listen.
Here are some line openers you can use to grab your audience’s attention:
1. What if…
2. Imagine if…
3. Let’s say…
4. Let’s talk about…
5. Picture this…
6. Let’s talk about…
7. If I had to describe…
8. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that …
9. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying…
10. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but there’s something to be said about…
11. When I think about … [fill in the blank]
12. When you’re talking with your friends… [fill in the blank].
13. When was the last time you heard about … [fill in the blank]?
14. Never has there been a better time to talk about … [fill in the blank] than now.
15. There has never been a better time than now…. [fill in the blank]!
16. You’re probably asking yourself … [fill in the blank]? Right?!?
17. What would happen if … [fill in the blank]?
18. What if we decided to … [fill in the blank]. What impact would that have?
19. Let’s pretend we decided to … [fill in the blank]. How would that change things?
20. I want to share a thought I just had … [fill in the blank].
Being able to grab and maintain your audience’s attention is vital, not only for an effective speech, but also for on-stage charisma. If you ever find yourself stuck for ideas, recycle your favorite quotes, play off of the event or meeting, or use current events in the news that week.
Just like a good book won’t let you flip to the end to see how it ends, a good speech won’t let you know how it ends at the beginning. Attention-grabbing stories and powerful statistics help you keep your listeners engaged and hold their attention. They also make sure that your speech is memorable.