Grab Your Audience

Six Ways to Grab Your Audience Right from the Start: Case Analysis

Effective communication with the people who have given their time and ears to you requires practice and close attention to detail. The key component from the 2003 Beverly article on grabbing the audience's attention is the start. This means that the opening statements define one's delivery of the message to the targeted listeners. The use of the modern karate strategy of striking one's opponent on the sound of the referee's call is a good analogy to exert the gravity of how important it is to catch the attention of one's listeners from the moment one opens their mouth to start a speech or presentation. The six methods suggested have proved successful in capturing the interest of the addressees/audience (Beverly, 2003).

The first method exemplified is that of personal experience. This shows the reality of the issue one wants to discuss or perhaps articulate. Despite the complexity of the matter, the audience will be very captivated and desire to hear everything one has to say due to the focus of one's personal story which is based on success, melancholy or even misfortune. The second approach is based on the idea of eccentric facts and action. Stating a strange fact that is related to the presentation is guaranteed to create curiosity in the listeners who will want to know the relationship between such a peculiar declaration and the topic of presentation. The action section of this methods has been successfully done by Elizabeth Dole (i.e. an elected candidate for Senate in 2002) who walked out of the podium at the moment she was eagerly anticipated by the press to begin her speech. She claimed she had to tell her listeners about the man she loved! (McKay et al, 2009).

Another indispensable approach is that of generating suspense at the start of any presentation. As drawn from the case, this tactics makes all the listeners eager to hear of the answers at the end of it. Another is that of hypothetical scenes that construct vivid imagination in the minds of the audience who will be keen to listen to the presentation .The last technique is the use of a significant quote that summons humor or satire. All these procedures give the ultimate lesson of presentation: captivate the audience.

General Discussion

The key communication concern of the case study is the incarceration of audiences' concentration. Effectual ways of doing this in an organization will require the careful analysis of its leaders. Using the three pillars is an excellent start to define what is requires in the speeches made as a communication tool (Beverly, 2003). They are ethos (i.e. the speaker's credibility), pathos (i.e. emotional connection of the speaker to the audience) and logos (i.e. logical argument presented to the audience).Ethos is the first impression that the audience has of the speaker. At times this impression could be premeditated. This means that if the audience knows the achievements or the nature of the speaker, they will be inclined to be very attentive at the start of the speech. However this does not mean that their attention will remain just because of the status of the narrator. The narrator must make a strong initial impact to continue captivating the already eager audience. If the speaker is not well known to the audience, the use of a bizarre actuality or suspense would be a good beginning for the audience. Pathos is the ability of the speaker to incite the sensation of the audience accordingly. If the issue is humorous, the speaker should make the listeners laugh by starting with a simple tale with respect to the issue. If the subject is serious (e.g. statistical, ethical or business), then use of personal experience or hypothetical circumstances would be more effective. Logos is the reasoning of the speaker. It entails the semantics of the topic being discussed. The deductive or inductive meaning of the speaker must be communicated efficiently so that it makes sense to the listeners. These three pillars of communication according to Aristotle work in harmony to ensure that effectiveness is achieved while transmitting information from one individual to another.

Managing involves getting work done. Supervision is the close up checking aimed at ensuring that the assigned task is being done accordingly. Companies refer to team leaders as managers or supervisors since both roles involve leadership and human resources (i.e. employees of the company). According to Beverly (2003), Leaders in the workplace have the mandate to ensure that work is done by the right people, in the right way and at the right time. Furthermore, the management is supposed to instill motivation in their workers who are vital to the smooth operating of activities in the company.

As drawn from the case, supervisors need to find an approach that will ensure that the message intended for the workers is received in a manner that will lead to increased performance and growth of the company. The forms that can be used are motivational messages, compilation of employee feedback, industry updates or occasional management messages. This can be termed as top down communication. Where workers are emeses the use of eccentric facts would be good way of getting their attention when delivering instructions. These bizarre facts can be incorporated into pre-recorded messages that are delivered to employee perhaps via phones (i.e. under normal office settings) or by use public-address/loud speakers (i.e. factory settings).To ensure that the intended messages are executed in the right manner it will be important to analyze theories that have been put forth to explain the behavior of audience during presentations (Beverly, 2003).

The first theory is that of reasoned action and the second is that of planned behavior. The reasoned action theory states that the voluntary behavior of a person is calculated by that person's outlook to that behavior and others' opinion of that conduct. According to McKay et al, (2009), person's mind-set and subjective norms (i.e. mixture of perceived outcomes from important people or groups together with ideals to abide by these expectations) form the behavioral intention. This means the audience (i.e. workers in a company) will pay attention if the tasks presented to them are exemplified to be critical to the running of the organization and that their contribution is important. However, if the essential nature if the tasks presented is not done in an eye catching manner, the audience will not listen to the instructions and as a result they will not perform accordingly.

The second social science theory as mentioned above is that of planned behavior which a revision of the reasoned action theory is. The predictor added to the former model is perceived behavioral control (McKay et al, 2009). This forecast was added to accommodate the circumstance where a person has the motive of executing a behavior but it is not because it is ruined by the person's lack of poise or power over the behavior. This theory is more accepted because it contains a person's preferred behavior and it explains the association between actual behavior and behavioral intention. Therefore, it is a very influential and prognostic model for elucidating human behavior. As a manager it will be imperative to guarantee that the workers' preferred behavior is that of compliance to the desired goals where the objectives of the company are followed. By communicating the piece meal responsibilities to employees it will be possible to achieve accountability when performance evaluations are carried out (Beverly, 2003).

The proposals that can be put forward by supervisors to achieve the desired intent would perhaps be effective training programs, aimed at enhancing the skills in when presenting themselves to their subordinates. For their workers, supervisors could organize such programs for their workers if presentations are part and parcel of service delivery at work. In addition to these programs, managers could invest in reading material relevant to presentation skills to subordinates so that their thought process approach is adapted to that of public presentation. Not only will this add value addition to the company, it will help these workers improve their oral capabilities and confidence when relating with fellow colleagues in a successful manner. Other ways that managers or leaders can improve presentation in the work place is by changing the configuration of the organization. They can establish a single communication channel so as to eliminate intermediaries when passing information. Instructions should also be documented if they seem to be somewhat complicated or detailed. Moreover, oral communication should be as clear as possible and miscommunication should be avoided at all costs. To achieve a flexible and dynamic organizational arrangement, proper feedback from employees must be derived. The major challenges that would hinder the progress of competent presentation for overseers, managers and subordinates are the inner preferred behaviors of the individuals. This is in accordance to the planned behavior theory. This means that for example if some people are natural shy, it would be a daunting task for them to make presentations as required. Another thing is that some people do not like their jobs and so they will not produce positive results expected by their overseers despite the investment made for their progress and increased work input in the company. This is the psychological barrier that may be difficult to overcome unless the individual acquires motivation or life experience that changes their perception of the work environment (Beverly, 2003).

Other factors that hinder effective presentations are numerous. Physical barriers such as noise and large rooms are minor and can be dealt with by making people meet in smaller rooms after ensuring all distractions are at their bare minimum. Cultural barriers are another. This encompasses the nature of the people in an organization. An effective manager should be able to use language that is acceptable by all. The person should also accommodate the differences of age, gender, economic position, health and personal dispositions of all the individuals in the organization. An organizational obstacle would be the fault of the overseers because they represent the company. These include inadequate facilities, stringent regulations and poor culture. The overall directors can make improvements to such issues to boost the credibility of the managers and eventually that of employees who will sense progress. By making working conditions comfortable for workers, concentration on the crucial objectives of the company will be achieved easily (McKay et al, 2009).


It is important to captivate audiences during presentations from the very beginning. This principle applies to companies that enclose a hierarchy of leadership which overlooks the day-to-day goings-on in the organization. When addressing the workers at all levels, its imperative to fascinate them with the issues related to the performance of their duties, rather than a mere use of run-on languages (Beverly, 2003). A strong balance between humor and seriousness must be maintained when using some of the techniques elucidated at the commencement of the discussion. The use of various methods of present a topic to listeners will need to take into consideration their background so that the introduction will not come across as offensive or irrelevant which may then discredit the presenter's work even though its content is thorough and useful to the audience.

Communication is manifested in copious interpersonal matters in any organization (McKay et al, 2009). By understanding the process of communication, its potential barriers and any improvements that can be made is the pathway to effectiveness. Each company that exists does so with the input from all workers without whom, the entire firm would be deemed dysfunctional. Investment in the workers starts with developing the communication processes. By capturing the minds of the targeted audience (i.e. workers), leaders will be able to know the right approach of extracting the best from their subordinates in the work place.


Beverly, B. (June, 2003).Six ways to grab your audience right from the start. Harvard Management Communication Letter. Article No. C0306E

McKay, M., Davis, M. & Fanning, P. (2009). Messages: The Communication Skills Book. London, UK: New Harbinger Publications.

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