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Six Keys Guaranteed to Keep Your Audience's Attention©
Adapted from The Overnight Guide To Public Speaking by Ed Wohlmuth.
Used with permission.

By Karen Susman

You can download, reproduce, reprint, recycle articles as long as you include my copyright and byline information. Let me know if and where you use an article. Or, send me a copy. It's always fun to see my name in print.

Include the following elements in this exact order in your next presentation. Your audience will stay with you until you take your bow. Be prepared for ear splitting applause.

Let's assume you're speaking to potential customers for your big, beautiful bean bag chairs.

  1. I will not waste your time. ( "In the next few minutes, I'd like to demonstrate the comfort and construction of these big, beautiful bean bag chairs." Or, "I'd like to begin my brief remarks by asking you to remember the last time you were really comfortable in a chair.") Your audience will silently or audibly sigh with relief. You're promising not a be a big, beastly wind bag.

  2. I know who you are. ( "As people who deserve to relax after work, you need to..." Or, "Several of you mentioned to me that your work involves lots of reading." You must know your audience and you must let them know early on that you do. Each audience feels it's unique, so even if your message is the same, a reference to engineers when you're speaking to dentists will divert their attention.

  3. Here's how my speech is organized. ( "The three points I want to cover are..." Or, "There are two prime ways to arrange big, beautiful bean bag chairs. The first is..." Or, "I plan to describe our proposal, demonstrate it and then ask for questions.") Since so many speakers aren't organized, your audience will be impressed and relieved that you are. You will make it so much easier for your audience to follow you if you announce your agenda.

  4. I know my subject. (Without sounding pompous or overbearing: "When we evaluate big, beautiful bean bag chairs,..." Or, "During the last decade designing furniture, we..." Or, "When I was interviewed by Chair Monthly on this issue...") If you don't know your subject, you shouldn't be speaking on it. Build credibility early.

  5. Here is my most important point. ( "The one thing I want you to remember is...." Or, "The most important point to take from here is..." Or, "Write this one thing down...") This will alert your audience that something important is about to be said. This will jerk your audience back into attention mode.

  6. I am finished. ( "I want to leave you with this one thought..." Or, "Before I conclude, let me tell you...") Give a great closing story, or quote or wish for the audience. Be sure to include a call to action. "Come to our store on 5th and Main today." Or, "Visit our website," Conclude once. Many speakers give audiences whip lash by concluding five or six times.

Organize your remarks with these six keys in mind and you'll open the door to successful presentations.

©Karen Susman.

Karen Susman, Speaker/Author/Coach, works with organizations and individuals that want to maximize their performance and quality of life. Check out her free tips and articles at Karen can be reached at 1-888-678-8818 or

For more information: Presentation Skills: Connect for Success


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