In The News

Thu 19 Apr 2018

Five Quick and Dirty Tips to Hook Your Audience

In The News


A few weeks ago I coached more than twenty people from a digital company to ramp up their in-house pitches. They were a smart, switched-on group but some of their presentations lacked punch. Because it was compulsory to attend their monthly in-house presentations they didn’t really try to engage their audience. Consequently, their audience were prisoners. While they might be there physically,  they weren’t necessarily there mentally.

Here are five quick tips to grab your audience so that you’re not wasting their time or yours:

  1. Have a strong hook. Use a topical event, story, startling statistic or appropriate joke to grab their attention. Sell the the benefits up front.

2. Know your objective – what’s in it for the audience? What is it that you want them to take away from your presentation? Why should they listen or care? How will this information make their jobs easier or more interesting? If your objective is to ‘bring them up-to-date’ that’s not enough. You could send an email.

3. Keep the slides simple and not text-heavy. Slides with complex, long sentences and content force the audience to stop listening to the presenter and read. Slides should feature a few bullet points, headlines, images or simple graphs. Explain the detail verbally. Email the complex version to people who want more information after the presentation.

4. Include real life examples to illustrate your concepts and statistics.

E.g. Don’t say “Our bridge is made from x,000 tons of concrete”. Say: “There is enough concrete in our bridge to fill 35 olympic swimming pools.” Most people are visual. This example will help ‘cement’ the concept in their memories.

5. Finally, at the end of presentation – don’t just say: ‘thank you’. That’s a wasted opportunity. What do you want the audience to do with that information? Do you want them to give you feedback by the end of the week? Endorse the project and give it the green light? Experiment with the prototype and see if they can iron out any glitches or make some suggestions?

Every presentation is an opportunity to change people’s minds and direction. Make the most of it.

For in-house one-on-one coaching or group presenting/media training or writing workshops – Millerink Media / Theresa Miller /


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