How to Use Attention Grabbers

Attention grabbers or “Hooks” are statements that engage the interest of the reader or listener in the topic. Usually an attention grabber is used at the beginning of the introduction. The main attention grabbers are anecdotes, quotations, humor, and shocking statistics. Most hooks are at least 2-4 sentences, depending on the topic and technique you use. They should use double surprises and instantly attract the audience before they go away.

  • You must lead from the hook smoothly into the rest of the introduction, which leads to the paragraph or thesis statement. The goal is to tie down sentences so that the hook does not lose its power.
  • The purpose of using an attention grabber:
  • To catch the attention and interest of the audience an involve them into further interaction.
  • To reveal the main point of the topic and show the manner in which it will be developed. It also sets the tone of the writing.

Guidelines – How to Use Attention Grabbers

  1. Open with a question or series of thought-provoking questions. This will make your audience think about your topic. However, remember, with starting with a question you are opening up the possibility that the audience will say “No,” and then they may lose interest in your topic. Avoid questions that are boring and cliché.
  2. Use an anecdote. A relevant and humorous anecdote can break the ice. People love good stories. Telling an anecdote might not be a good idea for serious and sad topics.
  3. Use quotes. Once you have stated the quote, comment on it, using your own words. Expand upon it throughout your theme. When quote is used appropriately, it can motivate, inspire and enthrall an audience.
  4. Begin with “Imagine …” Repeat the “imagine statement” two or three times. Blend these statements into the topic of the essay.
  5. Use an analogy. Draw the comparison with the topic of your subject to a frame of reference the audience can understand. This technique is useful for describing certain benefits and features.
  6. Give a quiz. A quiz is similar to a test where questions have a more specific nature and are addressed to each member of the audience. It is generally not used for presentations of a more formal nature and is more appropriate for training-type workshops.
  7. Do a survey. A survey involves a question posed to the entire audience with the intention of determining their response as a group based on a show of hands. This allows you to count the response and will give you a rough idea of the situation
  8. Give a demonstration. Conducting a demonstration helps people who like to absorb information visually. It also helps provide variety to your speech, and serves as an interesting distraction to a tired audience.
  9. Relate a personal experience. Personal experiences shared in this context must firstly, be interesting. Secondly, they have to be related to your message. The audience must be able to make a link between your story and your message, or else what you will be doing is merely telling the audience a story about yourself.
  10. Use funny stories. It is common knowledge that audiences enjoy humorous speeches. However, the trick to a good attention grabber is to use humor that is relevant to the topic.
  11. Give a definition. This technique is good for speeches at scientific conferences for instance, and helps to clarify ambiguous terms within the speech.

Our tips will give you some ideas to help you grab the attention of the audiences you encounter. Public speaking training, storytelling techniques, and your own imagination will help you create own attention grabbers as well, tailored for each audience.