The Best Technique for Keeping a Readers Attention

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold his audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson” (John Henrik Clarke).

Everyone knows how hard it is to keep attention to something you don’t feel requires your 100 percent focus.

What we neglect to consider is how hard it must be for the speaker knowing a lot of what they are presenting may be going to waste.

I’ve prepared some new ideas and ways of viewing grabbing the attention of an audience and holding it to make sure what you have to say doesn’t go to waste.

Don’t give everything away immediately

Readers get drawn in. That’s what we want to happen.

But in order to draw someone in to a story we are telling or an idea we are presenting, we have to make use of different ways to pull them toward the final point.

If we were to tell a reader the important points first, as we should, how do we keep them on the page to continue reading?

A big obstacle with reading and writing is it’s one way. Someone is talking and others are listening but until the speaker is finally done talking, the audience cannot respond.

For the best result of this, a speaker needs to keep attention until the very end.

So how do they do that?

The best method I have found for keeping read percentages up is setting up a journey to take the reader on alongside.

The point I am trying to make may be at the very end, but I hint that it is coming to assure them they are not wasting their time.

If they have come for the importance in the beginning and decided to leave after, while that is fine, we want them to feel there is more to it than that.

If I were to tell a story about success and I immediately told my audience what I achieved and how long it took me, some pay may only care about that.

It is afterward that I continue to talk about the struggle and story I have with the success that ultimately leads to a more compelling ending that the reader anticipated from me priming them.

Raise more questions

Another way to keep attention is to do something out of the ordinary to create more questions than before that they feel need to be answered.

If I were to say the way I kept my productivity high was because of two numbers, 80 and 20, what does that mean?

This is the effect that you want to give readers without being too stingy on when you decide to tell them what it means.

In this case 80 and 20 are part of the 80–20 rule where 80% of an effect comes from 20% of the causes. Or another explanation, 80% of sales come from 20% of the clients. It is a technic to help focus in on the important parts of what we should be focusing on.

Reffering back to the effect however, what I did was at first told readers what they were going to soon understand, but I presented it before I came out and told them what it means.

The same can be done with a story. Jumping right in leads to questions that need answering like what is the moral of the story.

We get enjoyment out of solving something or finally understanding something so presenting an audience with a new thing to understand will capture the attention.

Holding attention

As well as capturing an audiences attention, there still raises the problem of how do I keep their attention.

To do this, you must utilize these technics and more inside of your message.

Anyones attention can be captured, but once it is captured it can drift far away.

A method of grabbing attention does not have to be done from the beginning and assumed that attention will stay.

People remember the beginning and ending of a presentation which ultimately makes the middle attention hard to grab. This is where people feel comfortable spacing out and that the middle information while important may be too boring.

Do what you have to do to grab their attention again.

Tell another story. Raise another question. Make your goal or message clearly involve all points of what you have to say.

While it’s one thing to capture attention, that doesn’t mean capturing it again is useless. People reset and constantly flow away from focus.

Grab their attention, present a point, and once you feel the need to again, grab their attention once more.




Ethan Greavu

Arizona State 2020 - Journalism. All of my stories are cross posted to

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