Always Have Something for Audiences to Hold in Their Hands

Keeping your audience’s attention during a presentation is more difficult that one might realize. This is especially true, given that today’s audiences have phones, laptops, e-readers, and other electronic devices at the ready. As soon as the presentation begins, the presenter must already begin competing with these electronics in order to gain the audience’s attention. One of the best ways to combat this struggle is by giving the audience something to hold in their hands. This tangible object reminds audiences that they are there for your presentation and the object itself triggers curiosity in the brain which helps to attract and maintain focus. Here are a few suggestions for things you can give your audience to hold during your presentation. 

Smartphones and Laptops

It is harder than ever to connect with audiences in this mobile device world, so why not stop competing and start collaborating? Audience members are bound to reach for their mobile devices at some point during your presentation so why not give them a reason to do it? Smartphones and laptops are some of the best tools for engaging with your audience and there are plenty of ways to incorporate them. One of the simplest ways is to create a hashtag for your talk and ask audiences to tweet questions or comments during the presentation using the hashtag. You can set aside times throughout the presentation when you will display the tweets. You can also get instant feedback from your audience by using a polling app. You can put a question on the screen and allow audience members to respond via their smartphone or laptop. Finally, there are various apps that allow you to quiz your audience during the presentation and you can instantly see the results of their answers. 

Presentation Slides

Presentation slides help you communicate information clearly with your audience, but it can also be helpful to put them in your audience’s hands. Giving people a closer look at your slides will help them to follow along with your presentation. It will also keep the audience engaged as they flip through slides along with the presentation. 

Tangible Props

Props are another easy way to interact with your audience and keep them engaged. Instead of only using props on stage, you can pass them around to give the audience a closer look. This will spark interest and make your presentation more memorable.


It can also be helpful to pass out pamphlets or brochures. This gives your audience something to look at during the presentation and it also provides a reference for them to take home. Do be careful, however, that your pamphlets and brochures do not distract the audience from what you are saying. 

Research has shown that holding something in our hands can improve concentration and retention. It can be to your advantage to utilize tangible objects in order to maintain the focus of your audience. No more do you have to compete for their attention…give them something worth holding!