All Eyes On You: 3 Effective Ways To Gain People's Attention And Keep It

by AJ Agrawal
NBCUniversal Television

In a world filled with Snapchats and texts, our generation's attention span is shorter than it’s ever been. Because of this, keeping people engaged is a skill required in today’s world if you want to stand out.

Being able to captivate others allows us to charm them and develop close relationships that can last forever.

Because of the importance of being fascinating, it's important to know how to make sure people remain focused on you. The people who do this effectively are the ones we call charismatic, charming and natural-born leaders.

While it may seem that being interesting is based on experiences, in reality, it is more based on communication.

There are a few tricks that will help you keep almost anyone's attention, which will make you the most likable person in the room.

Start using these three techniques below, and people will think you’re a natural-born charmer:

1. Don’t tell facts, tell stories

It’s never cool to sound like a history book. No one wants to hear you answer questions with just plain answers — that’s boring, and you will lose your audience’s attention.

Instead, speak through stories. When someone asks you what you do for work, don't just say your title; tell the story of that one time you went to the all-company Christmas party and people started dancing on the tables.

Those are the things people want to hear.

One of the first lessons entrepreneurs who are trying to raise money learn is to pitch a story, not a business. Our brains are naturally built to pay more attention to a narrative than a list of facts.

Research has shown that most people can’t stand not knowing how a story ends.

Why do you think people sit through movies that they hate? Because stories — whether good or bad — captivate people. Use as many of them as you can.

2. Make fun of yourself

The world is filled with too many people who are worried about their reputations. To protect their reputations, they keep all conversations at surface level. This, as expected, leads to surface-level relationships with their audiences.

If you want people to engage in deep conversations with you, you can’t have them just kind-of-sort-of like you. They need to have a strong emotional connection, whether good or bad.

Eventually, you also want to be able to get the other person to let his or her guard down. The only way to get the other person to open up to you is to earn their trust, and to get them to trust, you must first open up.

The best way to do this and keep it light-hearted is to make fun of yourself. Not only will this get the other person laughing, but it also will encourage him or her to do the same.

Pretty soon, you’ll be exchanging embarrassing stories with each other that you swore you’d never tell. It’s stories like these that lead to close bonds.

3. Use small touches for close conversations

Don’t try to force this or you’ll look super awkward and make the other person feel uncomfortable. With that said, small touches at the right time can make all the difference in people paying more attention to you.

A great example of this is when you see basketball coaches put their arms around players. Whenever they do this, the player gives the coach complete attention. A small touch can go a long way.

When you’re speaking to someone closely and paying a compliment, gently put your hand on the side of his or her arm. You’ll notice his or her eyes will be more focused, and the body language will be more engaged toward you.

The master of this is Bill Clinton. If you see how he interacts with people, it’s incredible. He’s able to use tiny gestures to make anyone feel comfortable and engaged.

In fact, this skill helped him become the President of the United States. If it helped him do that, I’m sure it’ll help you as well.