One of my absolute favorite authors in the world is Simon Sinek. His writing is brilliant.
Most of his book’s chapters start with stories, his arguments are intelligent, and you can tell he’s worked to craft persuasive prose.
I admit to having a bit of a ‘man crush’ on Simon Sinek. Deal with it.
So how does this relate to grabbing an audience’s attention when you begin to teach?
Well, as a matter of fact, it has everything to do with it.
Simon Sinek explains exactly how to grab hold of an audience’s interest in a powerful, but simple, way:
Isn’t that brilliant?
Even just listening to Simon explain this idea, when he gets to the story example, aren’t you immediately interested? Even if your attention was waning as he talked, as soon as he started to mention having dinner with people who use their cell phones, we were all drawn back in to the talk.
I love it. Here are a few takeaways from the video:
1. Presenting is like a journey.
There are ups and downs, intrigue along the way. But in the end there is always a “place” we want people to get to. We may want to inspire action, or teach our audience something new, whatever it may be, there is a “place” we want our audience to get to.
2. Present with the end in mind
Most of the time when we are teaching we are presenting to a “blind” audience. They don’t know where our talk is going. They don’t know where our talk is headed.
When you present with the end in mind, you give your audience a sense of progress. They can subconsciously understand that the talk is moving toward a resolution or action step. Alternatively if the talk doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere, it gets long and boring for the audience really fast.
3. Start with a Story
The very best way to draw your audience in is with a story. This helps them understand where the talk is headed (see point #2) and it gives them an emotional connection to the problem/idea being presented.
Don’t have a story you can tell? Simon says it’s as simple as saying “Imagine if…” In other words, describe a possible scenario. Paint an imaginary picture for your audience, this will have the same effect as telling an actual story. Your audience will immediately be able to picture themselves in that situation.