Friday, February 24, 2017

Skills: Capturing Attention

Getting and keeping the attention of your audience is a vital skill in ministry. There are numerous methods. Some people seem to have the gift of holding everyone’s rapt attention with ease. How do they do it? What are their secrets? Here are a few strategies you can employ to grab and keep the attention of your audience. Each method has a time and place. Some methods are better suited to outdoor play time while others to indoor worship. Here are my 5 top strategies.

1. Start with a story. Begin with a rapturous story your listeners have not heard before. Or at least tell a familiar story in a way that is unusual. This was one of Jesus’ prime methods and I use it a lot too. It works for all ages.

2. Include an object lesson. Begin with it or insert it part way through and everyone will have eyes locked on you. You can begin by holding the object up and asking a question about it, or by talking about it mysteriously and keeping it hidden to reveal at the end. Check out our great library of object lessons here.

3. Carry a whistle. A simple blow to a whistle is a sure-fire way to get everyone’s attention indoors or out. Nothing beats them for size and volume. While you might not want to call everyone to worship this way, it is great to have one when you need it. I carry one everywhere in my backpack, it is especially great outdoors, and it has saved my voice several times!

4. Provide fidgets. A fidget is a small object that someone can play with in their hands quietly. They are perfect to help people who have a hard time sitting still to pay attention. They are commonly used in classrooms to help active children listen. But they are great for adults and children alike. There are numerous options including pre-made and DIY fidget objects. I like to keep a few mesh and marble fidgets handy. See here. There is a popular cube fidget on the market now too that children and adults both enjoy.

5. Be animated. All the best speakers out there are animated. In other words, they move a lot. They move their voice and their bodies. Use inflection in your voice, look directly at people in your audience, and move around. Avoid standing still for too long, walk up to and interact with your listeners. It may feel odd at first, but it will get easier. There is nothing wrong with carrying your notes with you so you don’t loose your place. Watch your favorite speaker for ideas and of course practice.  

Do you have a great strategies for keeping or getting people’s attention? Share it in the comments below!

Written by David F. Garner