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Attention Grabbers (to start speech)

A good speech will definitely make use of attention grabbers. In public speeches, the audience will generally have rather short attention spans. Hence, in long speeches that are 2 hours or more, there is a need to have more compelling attention grabbers in order to capture and maintain the audience’s attention.

Let us look at some features of an effective attention grabber.

- Firstly, effective attention grabbers are sometimes unexpected

- Secondly, audiences usually have their own worries and troubles on their minds. Does the attention grabber break the pre-occupation that is pre-existing in their minds?

- Next, does it generate curiosity in the minds of the audience?

- Finally, does the attention grabber relevant to the message of the speaker? Does it create a positive relationship?

With these factors in mind, let us look at 10 commonly used attention grabbers.

1. Ask a question – Asking a question challenges the mind of the audience, putting them in a thinking active mode instead of a receiving passive mode. A question is easy to ask and also serves as an effective tool to buy the speaker time to think about the next point.

2. Use an anecdote or story – Everybody loves a good story, so why not tell a good one? This story can be anything in the real world that is related to your topic.

3. Give a definition – This technique is good for speeches at scientific conferences for instance, and helps to clarify ambiguous terms within the speech.

4. Use a quote – A quote, when used appropriately, can easily be used to motivate, inspire or enthrall an audience.

5. Use an analogy – This technique involves likening the topic of subject to a more understandable frame of reference that the audience can understand. It is useful when describing certain features or benefits.

For example, you could say; “Finding the correct job ls like finding the correct pair of shoes, you know when you have found a perfect fit.” By using an analogy to relate your focus to a more common image, this will allow the audience to relate to your message more easily.

6. Use humor – It is common knowledge that audiences enjoy funny speeches. However, the trick to a good attention grabber is to use humor that is relevant to the topic.

7. Relate a personal experience – Personal experiences shared under this context must firstly, be interesting. Secondly, it has to be related to your message. The audience must be able to make the link between your story and your message or else what you will be doing is merely to tell the audience a story about yourself.

8. Give a demonstration – Conducting a demonstration helps people who like to absorb information visually. It also helps provide variety to your speech and serves as an interesting distraction to a tired audience.

9. Do a survey – A survey involves a question posed to the entire audience with the intention of determining their response as a group based on a show of hands. This allows you to count the response and will give you a rough idea of the situation.

10. Give a quiz – A quiz is similar to an actual test where questions of a more specific nature are posed to each member of an audience. It is generally not used for presentations of a more formal nature and is more appropriate for training-type workshops.

Source: http://communicatebetter.blogspot.com/2008/06/10-attention-grabbers-for-better-public.html