What is the easiest way to regain an audience's attention?

Stop Speaking.

One of the most powerful uses of your voice is to not use it at all. Silence peaks attention and gives you an opportunity to take in information about the audience.

Most presenters have a natural aversion to it. We consciously seek to fill any silence with "ahhhs, uhmms" and inane chatter.

Silence by the presenter creates tension in the audience. Experiment with just standing silently and watch heads start to turn toward you.

Hold the silence while you look into an audience. Let the tension build interest. Comments introduced or punctuated by silence have high impact.

Your ability to stand in silence before the audience demonstrates authority and confidence.

Gesture and Movement: Where, When, Why

Grab Attention

To make a key point, to pull the audience back when you feel them slipping away.

Convey Dynamism

To communicate confidence in yourself and your message, to command the room, to express your dynamic personality.

Communicate Precise Meaning

To fill the words with emotional import, to clarify the meaning of a statement, to indicate your perspective on the subject.

Communicate Emotion

To convey the importance of an idea, the devastation of an ill chosen course of action, the excitement of an event.

Reinforce the Truth/Authenticity of the Message

To seem authentic and credible to your audience. Body language reinforces what you are saying.

Optimize the Impact of Universal Gestures

To create rapport by their familiarity and to quickly develop understanding.

Communicate over a Larger Physical Space

To reach individuals in a large audience requires more dynamic gestures than those when speaking one-on-one.

Liven Things Up

To liven and lighten things up use juxtaposition, exaggeration, incongruities and surprise; pit gestures and movement against your words.

About the Author: The Henderson Group trains and coaches business professionals in the art of communication and presentation through our experiential methodology. Since 1990, The Henderson Group has helped Fortune 500 companies worldwide improve employee productivity and business results through the development of communication skills. You can find us online at and or Attend A Workshop