30 Tips How To Capture And Keep Student's Attention


If you want to make a desirable impression on the audience, you need to know technique of speech and also you should work thoroughly at the text of your speech. Listening comprehension is a really difficult task, so it should be made as simple as possible for the listeners. There is a number of effective practical methods of capturing the audience's attention. Almost all these methods can use any amateur speaker.

Now we are going to tell you about effective methods of capturing the audience's attention at the beginning of the speech. Let’s go.

  1. Appeal to event, time, place. Begin with the place where you are. “We are gathered today in this lecture hall where… Here you can see the portrait of… Today is the anniversary of… I believe everyone watched news yesterday and know that… Today we were informed that…” and so on and so forth. This method is not difficult and very effective to attract attention.
  2. Citation to well-known and public sources. For example: “Yesterday in the newspaper … there was an interesting article…; Today I have heard on TV that…; Last night on the radio...” and so on. Such a method is very reliable and effective because usually there are people who watched, heard or read what you are going to talk about. This fact immediately puts them in a position “together with the speaker”. These people usually say others: “Yes, I also watched / heard / read about …” and in such a way they stimulate other people to listen attentively.
  3. A rhetorical question. If a rhetorical question is sudden and emotional, and after it there is a pause, speaker can easily capture the attention of the audience. For example: “Do we need legislation?” Remember that the main subject of your speech defined by rhetorical question should be immediately continued and explained with other questions or arguments. A lonely rhetorical question does not work well.
  4. Stimulation of curiosity. Mention any interesting fact that shows the student audience that there is a lot of things they do not know. Give a paradox that arouses mental activity of students. Giving a paradox we can make the audience show interest to the question: how will speaker deal with the paradox? For example: “Einstein said that the education is what remains when everything you learned is forgotten”.
  5. Demonstration of any object. You may begin like this: “There is a book in my hands. It has perfect binding, gorgeous paper, and it is well-published. It is very attractive for those who take it in the hands… However, there is not a word of truth…” Or another example: “Look at this excellent advertising. Its slogan is brilliant. But at the same time it advertizes a man, who should not be allowed to get place in the government”.
  6. Talk about yourself, your own experience, events of your life, talk about something you read. For example you may start with: “One I was a witness of a interesting bet…”; “Recently I have read that…”; “Once something very unusual happened to me…” and so on.
  7. Quote someone you know. For example: “There is a good friend of mine whom I know for a very long time. He is a very attentive man. So once he said…” The quotation can be a little bit changed so that it provokes the listeners’ interest.
  8. Quote someone famous. For example: “George Bernard Shaw once said…”; “Peter I used to say his followers…”; “There is a very interesting saying of Shakespeare…” and so on. This method is very convenient because it is easy to find an aphorism or a catch phrase and thus it will provide you desirable attention.
  9. Appeal to life interests of the listeners. Raise the issues that can remove personal tense of the students and help them to solve their problem. As it is said “We are not interested in how to make a will in Peru. We are interested in how to make your own will”.
  10. Be careful with humor at the beginning of your speech. It is better to use humor later, on the next stage of your speech.

How to keep the listeners’ attention: work on speech presentation form

There is a number of demands to the oral text of public speaking and techniques that can help you to improve your speech.

  1. Conversational style. You should use more stylistically neutral words and colloquialisms. You should try to replace ink-horn terms and official word with stylistically neutral (method of stylistic replacement). Students and listeners in general more easily comprehend neutral words and colloquialisms and thus they feel more trust to the speaker.
  2. Simplicity of speech. Sometimes you can not avoid using scientific terms and abstract words. So you should think thoroughly how to use them correctly. You should explain the term in simple words, give synonyms, examples of its use, and explain its etymology (origin).

You should also prefer simple syntax in the text of speech. Avoid long sentences that are difficult to comprehend. It is better to divide one long sentence into several smaller.

Using digital data significantly enhances the credibility of speech, but you should follow certain rules.

  • There should not be many numbers, only in this case they look convincing to the listeners.
  • It is better to give whole numbers (without decimals).
  • You should give a source of the data you use.
  1. Vocabulary accuracy. Avoid generalized names in your speech. It is better to replace them with more well-known and comprehensible words. In most cases concrete definition may contribute to creation of visual images in the minds of listeners.
  2. Variety of nominative means. The expressed idea should be repeated during the speech, but repetitions should be made in various verbal forms. Repetition in the same verbal form makes listeners think that speaker tries to impose certain ideas. Repetition leads to remembering. A statement should be repeated at least 4 times in the speech but in different verbal forms.
  3. Speech expression. Oral speech should always be expressive. Expressive speech is easy to listen to and understand; listening to monotone speech students are not able to comprehend certain words and semantic units, they do not comprehend general meaning of the words. Expression of the speech should be trained. You should emphasize the main thought with the help of voice and intonation; make pauses before and after important words.


You should also know some nuances about speech presentation to attract and keep the students’ attention. There are a lot of methods to capture attention, we will give you 10.

  1. Make a question that will make the listeners raise their hands or nod. Show the students that you want their response.
  2. Choose a couple of students to help you with something.
  3. Call by name the participants of your presentation. This method always works positively.
  4. Talk about your audience, its problems, interests (study your audience before presentation).
  5. Speak about any common issue, for example tell a story about your family.
  6. Make a question that will make them answer.
  7. Make rhetorical question.
  8. Make the audience laugh.
  9. Choose a group of people and give them a task (for example, they should discuss certain problem and then present the ways of its solving).
  10. Remind the advisability of taking notes.

It is easy to attract the audience attention. Sometimes all you need is to go on stage, or just to rise from your seat. But keeping attention is much more difficult. So we would like to present some more methods that can help you to keep the students’ attention.

  1. Gestures during your speech. Gestures should be appropriate and not excessive. It is better to practice at home with the miracle.
  2. Voice. Using your voice you can create certain atmosphere, highlight key points and so on. You should understand how you want to sound. Remember the voice that makes you trust it, the voice that scares, the voice that inspires and so on. Try to copy all these voices with one and the same phrase. Emphasize key points with the help of intonation. Use pauses, acceleration and deceleration of your speech. It all will help toy to keep attention during your speech.
  3. “Eyes to eyes”. Make eye contact with people during the speech. Move your eyes from one person to another.
  4. “Plot”. As any interesting movie can take our attention for 2 hours, so your speech can also have interesting plot. As we have already mentioned, your speech should be understandable and you should use many examples.
  5. Engagement and involvement of the audience to general action. Make question, ask your listeners to express their thoughts, ask them to remind you some key point of your speech. Sometimes is it useful to ask for physical help, such as to move something, open the window or door and so on.

All these methods can help you to keep attention of the students as much time as you need. Each of them is effective, but their combination can give maximum effect. Use them, change something time to time and you will conquer the attention of any audience. Good luck!

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