7 Ways to Get and Keep Audience Attention

Have you ever noticed how what you learn in one segment of your life often applies in another? My husband showed me an excellent one-page sheet he consolidated from an article on Hubspot and I got really excited.


The article was pitched at presenters and how they might improve their presentations. His company conference is coming up in the fall and he agreed to give his co-workers some help on doing presentations.

What does this have to do with writing?

Each of the 7 points Ron picked out seem very applicable for writers:

  1. Start with paper, not PowerPoint. This is about planning and all writers plan to some extent. If not for their first novel then certainly for their second. I know this lesson firsthand. That’s part of why it’s taken me 6 years to get The Loyalist’s Wife out the door.
  2. Tell your story in 3 acts. while this is somewhat different in writing fiction than in giving a business presentation, the lesson still holds. Otherwise why would we hear writers talk about their “saggy middles”?
  3. A picture is worth 1000 words. We know that word pictures draw our readers in and spend most of our writing time coming up with words which all the reader to see characters in action.
  4. Emotions get our attention. Yes. My Lucinda firing fighting words at John in the moment is far more interesting than a pretty paragraph or two about their cabin in the wilds of New York State.
  5. Use plain English. Most of us writers love words for their cadence, their ability to elicit strong emotions and their sing-song sound when piled up in a particular way. And we know a lot of words. Big words, impressive words like gestation or enmeshed or punctilious. But we learn to write using language which does not take the attention from our story or our characters. Our readers can then keep their attention on those characters and not be sidetracked into wondering what a word means.
  6. Ditch the bullet points. We fiction writers don’t use them but maybe this applies to non-fiction?
  7. Rehearse like crazy. This definitely applies to writers, all of us. We need to write and rewrite, time and time again. And then do it some more. Why do you think The Loyalist’s Wife has taken me six years. I rehearsed that book countless times before it was ready for the final performance–publication.

In a readable size, here is Ron’s version. You’ll love his graphics, I’m sure. Think of using some of these techniques not only in your writing but also the next time you do a presentation.

7 Lessons From The World's Most Captivating Presenters

Download your free copy of 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing from the link in the side column!

Coming Very Soon!

The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler


5 thoughts on “7 Ways to Get and Keep Audience Attention

  1. Hi Elaine,
    I’m still catching up from the double whammy of vacation and working but I think this is such a great point to make. Selling your story or selling your presentation requires similar skills and showmanship, and this hits the mark. 🙂
    And I am getting so excited about The Loyalist’s Wife. Can’t wait! Love the cover BTW.


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