Updated: Dec 16, 2020
You’ve heard it before: First impressions are very important. Your first impression can be the defining moment in any interaction or presentation. Within the first minute of a presentation, an audience can gauge whether or not they are going to listen to what a speaker has to say. Intimidating? In this post, I will explain how to grab your audience’s attention, provide some examples, and give you a few tips to maximize effectiveness with an “AGD.”
An “AGD” is an attention-getting-device to grab your audience’s attention from the get-go and keep it. It is generally 1-3 sentences that hook your audience and reel them in. Keep in mind that your AGD should be relevant to your presentation, true, and no more than 3 sentences. Once you’ve said your AGD, paused for effect, give a short overview to your presentation, and present your information.
Here are some examples AGDs for a presentation on business practices:
Shocking statistic: According to Forbes, there are almost 28 million small businesses in the US and over 22 million are self employed with no additional payroll or employees (source).
Funny/True (but short) story: Steve Jobs dropped out of college, stumbled upon a job working on gaming software at Atari, and started Apple with fellow Atari co-workers, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne.
Bold statement: I can give you the key to starting a successful business.
Question: How many people here own their own company? (pause for effect).
Remember that a presentation is not just about what you say, it’s also about how you say it. To maximize your effectiveness with an AGD and throughout a presentation, your voice should be loud and commanding as soon as you start. Your feet should be shoulder length apart, and you should keep your hand movements between your belly button and chin. This will show your audience that you mean business.
Remember: 93% of communication is nonverbal – meaning your audience is noticing your tone of voice, the way you stand, all the way down to what you are wearing. Another principle to carry with you from a presentation stage to any professional interactions.