Managing audience attention: Keynote animations

There are only two real scarcities in the world: the scarcity of time and the scarcity of attention. In public speaking, you engage with both. You can’t afford to waste time or to lose the attention of your audience. Good presenters use every means: the choice of words, the tone of their voice, eye contact and facial expression to capture, retain and direct the attention of the public. Apple Keynote’s animations are a great tool to manage your listeners’ attention. Here are two examples.

The first animation below is great for capturing attention at the beginning of a presentation (the idea from Les Posen implemented by my Macademic co-author Jessica). In the first 30 seconds of your talk, the audience decides whether it’s worth listening to you. If you show them something like this they’re likely to think: “Wow! This does not look like another powerpoint! Let’s see what he has to say …”

The second example (the latter part of which is also by Jessica) shows how to guide (and not simply capture) the audience’s attention. The flow of the speech closely follows the flow of the animations which are designed to guide the eyes of the listeners. It is a very crude and simple imitation of the awe cinematographers create by manipulating the attention of the film viewers as explained by Rob Legato at TED. I know what they are looking at, which makes me sure they are listening to me and following my thoughts rather than trying to read and understand the gibberish content of a typical academic presentation slide!


About Aleh Cherp

Aleh Cherp is a professor at Central European University and Lund University. He researchers energy and environment and coordinates MESPOM, a Masters course operated by six Universities.
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4 Responses to Managing audience attention: Keynote animations

  1. Pingback: Academic presentations: ideas, workflows, and a Mac | Academic workflows on Mac

  2. The design in the second video is just beautiful. Sadly, most people in academics hate any sort of animation and want to see presentations as plain as possible. In my opinion, as long as it is not disturbing and distracting, a visually appealing presentation can definitely increase the attention of your audience


  3. Pingback: Don’t let your Keynote animations compete with you | Academic workflows on Mac

  4. Pingback: Stop being boring! – another Keynote animation | Academic workflows on Mac

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