- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

How to Get Attention From People Who Don’t Care

17th June, 2021

How to Get Attention From People Who Don’t Care

In April of last year, deep in lockdown, I remember sitting at my kitchen table trying to watch a finance webinar.


My then 11 year-old-son was next to me, doing online learning.


My webinar was duller than tonic water without the gin. As the presenter lurched from turgid slide to turgid-er slide, I looked over.


My son was giggling away so hard the table was shaking.


His maths teacher had them all learning complicated equations…with an online game lobbing paintballs at a scarecrow.


He was laughing and learning all at once. I, however, had long since given up on Droney McDroneFace, the webinar presenter, and was checking my email.


So what’s the moral here?


When we’re so wrapped up in a topic, it can be hard to believe that other people won’t be as interested in it as you.


So we plough ahead, ignoring glazed eyes and stifled yawns (‘Maybe they just had a late night.’) It’s especially bad on Zoom if we can’t see our audience’s faces.


But we mustn’t assume people are as into our subject matter as us.


Sometimes we have to work harder than we think to get people engaged, especially if it’s technical information. We need to make it interesting at the very least. And even better, if possible, fun.


So, try my A.I.D. approach to help you nail your next presentation or piece of writing:


Attention – say or do something to grab attention in the first few seconds (a story, statistic, shocking fact)


Interest – show your audience why they should care and how it will benefit them to keep listening/reading (answer ‘What’s in it for them?’)


Deliver – now that you have your audience eating out of the palm of your hand, you can deliver your information


As Orson Welles wrote:


‘I can think of nothing an audience won’t understand. The only problem is to interest them; once they are interested they understand anything in the world.’


Try it!

University of Cambridge


- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

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