Learn to hook your audience by trying each of the following strategies over the next few presentations that you give. They are designed to “hook” your audience so that you can “reel” them in with the rest of your presentation. Picking up on the fishing analogy, this technique of giving the audience a good hook to nibble on means that you will have a more engaged audience who are listening to your remarks with undivided attention! Here are three strategies you can use to hook your audience:

1. Tap into their pain or problem
Good speakers know that they can engage their audience by quickly appealing to a problem or challenge the listeners are currently experiencing. This is known as tapping into their “pain”. For example, at a talk about buying your first home, the speaker might ask the audience if they have ever struggled to come up with a downpayment only to be turned down by a lender due to limited work experience. By asking audience members to raise their hand, as the speaker raises their own hand, it is easy to see how many people have experienced the particular “pain”. If many audience members raise their hand it would be wise to flesh out this particular pain by talking about its negative impact. Once the audience is relating to this problem you can then move onto the second strategy which involves plugging into their hopes and dreams.

2. Plug into their hopes and dreams
Now that the audience is with you, meaning they share the problem or pain you’ve described, it is time to plug into their hopes and dreams. Building on the real estate theme, a speaker might now talk about how their speech will provide steps to overcoming the challenge. For example, you may say something like “This session will provide you with a three step plan to building & documenting your financial assets so that mortgage lenders will want to work with you to secure your first home. You will “hook” your audience by telling them that you have the solution to their problems and that you can help them achieve their dreams. Now that you’ve doubly hooked them, first with pain, secondly with hope, it is time to add a third strategy where you share a powerful story of success.

3. Weave a powerful story of success
After engaging your audience with a problem and a solution, you can reel them in by sharing a powerful story of success. If you are indeed experienced with the topic you will have many anecdotes that you can share which prove that you are able to deliver the solution they seek. For example, in the case of our real estate presentation, you may want to share a story of past clients who overcame the challenge of financing by following your approach. Paint their success story vividly by talking about where they came from financially and how they ended up owning a wonderful new home where they are happy. By sharing the story in your remarks and weaving it throughout your presentation you will keep your audience engaged as they relate to the success they also want to experience.

In summary, a persuasive public speaker knows that to engage their audience they will want to use one, two or three of the strategies discussed above. First, hook the audience by tapping into their pain, secondly plug into hopes and dreams, and thirdly weave a powerful story of success. If you want to learn more about how to master your presentation skills download a free report on presentations at www.boldnewdirections.com or consider registering for a presentation training seminar.

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  • International Coach Federation
  • The Coaches Training Institute
  • The National Speakers Association