If you can intrigue your audience, you will engage them and maintain their attention. How can you get there?
Organize your content for intrigue
I heard a keynote by Sam Horn at the Presentation Summit 2013. She talks about how to structure a pitch, whether to get funding, sell a product, or pitch a proposal. Here’s her formula in brief:
Did you know? (some fact or statistic. Some problem that costs time or money)
Did you know? (a second fact or problem)
Did you know? (a third one)
What if? Imagine (here you present the ideal solution)
You don’t have to imagine it; we’ve created it!
This is a problem-solution structure. I’ve written about it before in my tip, “2 steps to presenting persuasively: What problem do you solve?” What Sam Horn adds is a style that intrigues the audience, using questions and inviting the audience to imagine the solution.
Design your slides for intrigue
Another keynote at the Presentation Summit was by Nicholas Oulton, CEO of m62. He recommends creating slides that create intrigue. One specific suggestion is to display a slide with a diagram but no labels. People want to know what it means! As you explain, you display the labels until the diagram is complete. He calls this creating visual cognitive dissonance.
I’ve written about this as well, in a much older tip called “Get your audience’s attention by adding anticipation.”
For example, you might start with a diagram that looks like this and explain to an audience of presenters that they need to accomplish 3 steps for their presentations.
Now, the audience wants to know what the 3 steps are.The empty circles are intriguing, yes? Then, you’ll click 3 times and reveal the 3 steps, discussing each steps as you go. At the end, the diagram looks like this.
Can you think of ways to intrigue your audience? Leave a comment!
Thanks for the ideas, Ellen. I like the way you divide your post in two: Organising content and designing slides. In the link below, you’ll find 8 techniques for intriguing audiences. (For instance, I use acronyms quite a lot, which intrigue people about what the letters stand for.) Intrigue people (FiRST framework – part 1i) The last of those 8 tips shows various ways to display content so your audience can see something’s missing. That makes people focus sharply to see you reveal the missing bits! (I’d not thought of showing a diagram with missing labels though, as Nicholas Oulton… Read more »
. My daughter, who is about the autism spectrum, includes a trait called hyperlexia, which signifies that she includes a precocious fixation on letters, phonics, reading, and writing.