There are several ways that a speaker or a facilitator can hold the attention of his or her audience. Most of these tools are fairly simple and do not take a long time to master. You only have to be aware of them and apply them consistently.
One effective tool for holding the attention of your audience that we teach in our facilitator training courses is making eye contact.
This is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience and to grab (and retain) their attention and interest. There are different ways to make eye contact meaningfully. Below are some of them.
Engage Your Audience Before You Speak
Whenever possible, stand before your audience and establish eye contact with each of your participants for a few seconds before you say anything. With a large audience, focus on the people in the middle of each section. By doing so, the other people within a reasonable radius will still feel that you are connecting with them.
Start by Talking to One Person
Instead of letting your eyes flit around the room as you begin your presentation, focus on one person and start your presentation by talking to this person. Choose someone in the center of your audience and work your way to the others as you continue with your presentation.
Maintain Eye Contact
Try to hold eye contact with an individual for at least three to five seconds before moving to another person. This is typically about as long as it would take you to complete one sentence. If you keep in mind to make eye contact with a different individual only between sentences, you will be maintaining the three to five second rule.
Move Closer to Your Audience
Make an effort to move closer to the person with whom you are in eye contact. With a large audience, move toward the section you are trying to connect with for the moment. It is important to signify your connectedness with them not just with your gaze, but also with your body. Remember to maintain a respectable distance, however, so you do not end up making any person feel uncomfortable, which is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve.
Our onsite or online facilitation training courses are designed to equip you with the skills and tools to handle any type of business meeting or corporate facilitation. We have experienced and highly trained, strategic planning facilitators who can help discern and determine the next direction of your company or organization. Take our meeting facilitation training course and help your company save time and money by getting rid of unproductive office meetings.