How to Hook Your Attendees in First Minutes

If the attention of your audience was not caught in a very short initial time, it will be very difficult to do it later — and often it is not possible. Use speech hooks to catch it in the very beginning!

All experts and experienced presenters know for sure: the first few minutes of your presentation are a key to its success. The correct beginning, as we have said many times, is highly important.

But just a right beginning may not be enough for success. What does it mean — a good start? In our understanding, this is an opening that will immediately capture the attention of the audience, adjust it to one wave with the speaker, make your attendees to participate in the presentation actively, and not just sit on a chair and look at handouts.

Hooks — not only for fish :)

We advise you to use the so-called speech hooks. This is a certain set of ideas and actions, phrases and behavioral patterns that will allow you to achieve your goal and to interest the audience in the very first minutes of the presentation. Sometimes it can take about 5–10 minutes, if the presentation is large, or 20–30 seconds for a small pitch. In any case, take the recommendations carefully, they can ensure your success!

In order to catch the audience, you need to work on certain “points” of perception, which can cause a lively and energetic response in it. By the way, even a negative emotional response can be a key to a success of a presentation — if you offer a solution to the problem later. It all depends on the topic, mood, audience composition and goal of your speech. Which “points” work best?

Usually there are: surprise, shock, laughter, new experience, questions (requiring reflection, rhetorical), quotations of significant people, interesting short stories. Let’s talk about each hook separately.

Surprise your listeners

There can be several variants of the surprising beginning. Here you can bring interesting facts, name the numbers that will make the audience think and count in the mind. You can make a riddle or share with the audience a certain lifehack that will be useful for them. Do not start with the naming of the topic and boring phrases. Think about things and ideas that surprised and interested you personally, if you were on the audience’s place.

Ask involving questions

As we said above, they can be rhetorical — this means that you will not go through the entire audience and collect the answers. The rhetorical question implies that each listener will give his own answer in his head, personally for himself. But such a question will cause him to think — which means that attention to you and your topic will already be created. Such questions can also be made for communication — in this case you start with a small conversation with your audience that is actively involved in what is happening. You can also use polling — PodioBox can help you — the polling system is already provided with it. Each listener uses his own gadget and is constantly involved in the discussion, and you get their answers and display them on a common screen. It’s exciting and interesting!

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