How to Keep Your Audience’s Attention

How to Keep Your Audience’s Attention
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

It Is Not easy to Keep People’s Attention These Days

According to John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules, people tend to get bored after approximately ten minutes during a business presentation. That is not good news for presenters that need to keep your audience’s attention for more time.

To make matters worse, a study from Microsoft concluded that the average attention span has dropped 33% in the last decade from twelve seconds to eight seconds. For those of us with kids or that need to present to executives, this is not surprising.

So How Do Top Presenters Engage Their Audience and Hold Their Attention?

Neuroscientists, our sales presentation training  experts, and our business presentation training facilitators have found that changing it up is one of the best ways to re-engage your audience’s attention when they begin to tune out. Here are some of our favorite tips to keep your audience’s attention:

  1. Vary vocal delivery by changing pitch, volume and intensity.
  2. Use expressive and specific gestures. Move about the room. Use props.  Anything that is unexpected increases attention.
  3. Ask questions, both rhetorical and/or directly aimed at the audience.
  4. Make eye contact.
  5. Involve your audience, even if only with a show of hands or a quick survey.  People like to feel included.
  6. Have fun; humor helps.
  7. Increase credibility with carefully chosen moments of stillness and silence.
  8. Use Videos.  Short and relevant videos are a great way to change things up and reset your audience’s attention.
  9. Be Vulnerable: Sharing personal stories of failure and the resulting lessons of resilience and growth increases authenticity and builds trust with listeners.

The Bottom Line
Many of us are easily distracted, and attention spans are decreasing each and every year.  If you do not want to lose your audience in 10 minutes or less, make sure that you change things up and introduce the unexpected in a way that makes sense for your target audience and your culture.

To learn more about being an effective presenter, download How to Present to Senior Executives Like a Rock Star


Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance