Bright Ideas

Rocking your next speaking engagement

Alastair McCall

Content Director

  - [email protected]

Ask most people about attention spans, and they will tell you that they are getting shorter “Kids these days can’t concentrate on anything for longer than a couple of minutes”. They’ll tell us that we have to make content short, sharp bursts of information otherwise we’ll lose audience attention.

Alastair McCall

Content Director

[email protected]

Brevity was always at the front of my mind when writing content. So fearful was I that audiences would simply switch the channel in their mind unless I kept it all short. I believe that it is a myth that attention spans are getting shorter. I think that we have more choice of where to direct it than we used to.

In content writing, the challenge is how to make our presenters the most compelling thing in the room. It’s poor form to look at your phone during a keynote speech, but I’ve seen people do it. How do we keep ourselves more exciting than a status update, or a doodle pad?

Here are some ways that fresh think about how to make content come to life:

Speaker standing at podium

Tell a compelling story

We’re all onboard with storytelling right? The magic ingredient that makes content super interesting. Tell a story they say, and you’ll have them in the palm of your hand…

A note of caution, it’s all very well telling a story, but it’s got to be a story that’s worth listening to, I can vividly recall a wedding where the best man told a host of stories that fell very much into the “you had to be there” category.

Your story must be relevant, have a point, and be attractive to your audience. Don’t just shoehorn a story into a presentation just because you once read a Carmine Gallo book. Use the story to engage people with your message.

Illustration of a man

Know your audience

Consider the demographics of your audience, what is going to connect with them? Consider their age, likely level of prior knowledge of your topic, understanding of who you are and what you do. Think about how they feel before the event, and how you want them to feel afterwards, and tailor your content to engage with them in the right way.

Would an expert in quantum physics give the same speech to the annual conference of quantum physicists as they would to the local sixth form college? Of course not, so don’t make that mistake with your audience.

Illustration concept of 'vision'

Share your vision

What if I told you there was a way to have every member of the audience hanging off your every word? And what if I said that it’s not just possible, but eminently achievable? You’d be interested, right? Let me tell you how!

By sharing a vision of a better world, you engage the audience with your plan of how to get there. The audience is much more likely to listen to the rest of your content if they genuinely believe that at the end of it, they will have a clear idea of what they can achieve.

Illustration of a heart beatingShow me you care

Whatever you’re talking about, injecting some real, genuine passion into what you’re saying can make the difference between holding attention, and losing it.

At fresh, we don’t just help develop content. We work with speakers to make sure that an audience can feel like they genuinely care about their subject. Listening to someone speak with passion is compelling; if this person cares so much about this, maybe I should too?

But it’s not just in the delivery, the language that we use in content development is so important in conveying the fervour that a speaker has for their topic. That’s why I love working closely with presenters, to help bring that sentiment to life in the live environment.

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