1. An interesting anecdote or story:
One way of making a hook is to start with an interesting anecdote or event or illustration or story. It could be a real-life event or an imaginary one. Make it brief and use it just to gain the attention of your audience.
2. A humorous episode:
Good humour has its place in making communication effective. A humorous remark lightens the air and makes the audience more receptive. Any such humorous remark should, however, be relevant to the occasion and appropriate to the audience. Avoid jokes and ill-conceived humour. While it is nice to start on a humorous note, a speaker should not force one on the audience where it would not be welcome. Know your audience and decide which approach is the best.
3. A good quote:
A good quote from an eminent personality can also be used to gain attention. People are generally interested in knowing what someone like Abraham Lincoln or John Kennedy or Barack Obama or Swami Chinmayananda or Abdul Kalam or any such famous person had to say.
4. An interesting statistic:
Relevant figures do help in attracting attention, more so, when they are disturbing or something that warrants a concern. When the speaker says, ‘In our city, everyday, on an average, there are 3 fatal accidents taking place’ or ‘The number of man-days lost during the year to strikes is as high as…’, people’s attention gets drawn.
5. A rhetorical question:
A rhetorical question is the one that is asked in order to produce an effect rather than to gain information. When a speaker asks a rhetorical question, he or she does not necessarily expect a reply from everyone.
But it helps in drawing the attention of the audience. When the speaker starts by saying, ‘Who wants to earn a free trip to Singapore?’ or ‘How many of you have gone for a medical check up to a Government hospital?’, then heads turn and an instant rapport get built up.
We have mentioned above some approaches that are known to be effective in catching the attention of the audience. Good speakers develop their own style and use the approach appropriate to the occasion and the audience.
When the subject is serious, a quote or some disturbing statistics may be more appropriate than a humorous remark or an anecdote. On the other hand, if the audience is a familiar and friendly group, a humorous note or an interesting story would go well.