2 little known verbal techniques to gain attention and keep it

Finding it hard to grab attention and keep it throughout a presentation? Do you need to be more persuasive?

If so, then try out these tips to draw people into what you’re saying and keep them there.

Jo, a Sales Director, was offered a great opportunity: to give an after-dinner speech at an awards ceremony for a professional association. It was her chance to shine in front of her industry peers.

Then she went into a panic…

“Everytime I’ve been to one of those events, everyone’s gassing away, knocking back the Chablis. After dinner speakers are just the background noise.”

That’s often because they’re not doing at least one of two actions:

1) using Power Words

2) taking the reins

1) Using Power Words

Harvard University held a survey of the most powerful words in English. It came up with 12 and these are:

You, Easy, Guarantee, Health, Love, Money, New, Proven,

Results, Safety, Save, Discover

Use 3 of those in the first minute of any presentation or communication and I can guarantee that you’ll discover how quickly people will listen.

So I used 3 there. Any more of those and I’d have sounded like Victor Kiam. Actually, I’d add one more: FREE. That’s a good one. There are other attention grabbing words but they might not be so socially acceptable so I’d stick to the Harvard ones if I were you…

2) Taking the Reins

I recently saw a speaker, who hushed the audience with the word ‘you’ scattered throughout the first minute and he immediately had everyone’s attention. However, after another couple of minutes, the noise started up again, “If you don’t be quiet, I’ll {now in slow motion} speeeek veeeerrry veeeeeery slooooly and the whole speech will take twice as long.” So the audience immediately hushed. Whenever it got too rowdy, he just spoke in slow motion for a couple of words and everyone was silenced again.

Now Taking the Reins is for particularly noisy audiences but Power Words were enough for Jo who had the audience in her hands with a scattering of ‘you’s’ as well as a sprinkling of more from the list throughout her speech.

Even in a one-to-one, you’ll find Power Words useful – they’re persuasive and direct.

Notice how you grab attention quickly next time you need to have someone listen to what you say: and I’m guessing that moment might be sooner rather than later .

Remember that it’s not how much you say but the content that counts:

“What is required is not a lot of words, but effectual ones.” (Seneca)


Power words are as effective in email as they are face to face.  Put them into practice and let me know what happens in the comments.  See you in the comments!


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