Hook Your Audience 
(volume 1)
- how educational presenters can captivate their learners using performance techniques*

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How do you present when nobody has to listen to you?

If you work as an informal educator in a visitor attraction or outreach organisation this is the challenge you face every day. Without being able to win and keep the attention of your audience, all of your other objectives are impossible to achieve. 

Hook Your Audience is a toolkit of performance techniques to engage child and family audiences in interactive, educational presentations. Its main purpose is to encourage you to reflect more deeply on exactly how you engage your learners using engagement hooks. Many of these hooks are borrowed from other professional performers, such as magicians, stand-ups, street performers and actors. 

The toolkit explores issues, such as:

  • how to use your personality to connect with audiences;
  • how to make your crafted presentations appear spontaneous;
  • how to maintain your enthusiasm when delivering the same content for the 537th time;
  • how to coax volunteers from a teenage audience who seem glued to their seats;
  • how to create humour, even if you feel you aren't naturally funny.

This comprehensive guide is written in short chunks so that it can be read tool-by-tool or scanned and dipped into according to your interests. The toolkit:

  • explains the principles behind the tools;
  • curates hundreds of engagement hooks for you to consider implementing;
  • illustrates many of these hooks with examples;
  • shares quotations to stimulate reflection;
  • summarises the key ideas at the end of each tool; and
  • includes a glossary of the performing terminology.

Paperback format - 7 x 10"; 313 pages; approximately 90,000 words.

Paul McCrory runs HOOK training ltd, a company devoted to helping educators engage their learners. His approach combines interactive performance techniques and psychology. He has spent over 20 years working as an informal science educator and trainer in the UK, Ireland and internationally. The most interesting thing about Paul is that he has a PhD in being interesting.



How to use the toolkit

Hook their attention - the fundamental principles
0.1 Nobody has to listen to you
0.2 Everybody listens to emotional hooks
0.3 You are a performer
0.4 The audience are your directors
0.5 Key ideas about hooking their attention
Tool 1. Connect through your character  
1.1 Connect before you communicate
1.2 Be authentic
1.3 Show you are likeable and relatable
1.4 Build your trust bank
1.5 Blend authority with vulnerability
1.6 Key ideas about connecting through your character

Tool 2. Embrace the liveness          
2.1 Shhh… most presentation spontaneity is an illusion
2.2 Fixed content
2.3 Engineered content
2.4 Recalled content
2.5 Improvised content
2.6 Key ideas about embracing the liveness
Tool 3. Express your emotions
3.1 The curse of the zombie presenter
3.2 The inexperienced zombie 
3.3 The formal zombie
3.4 The uninterested zombie
3.5 The jaded zombie
3.6 The distracted zombie
3.7 The burnt-out zombie
3.8 The over-enthusiastic zombie
3.9 Key ideas about expressing your emotions
Tool 4. Interact through play                  
4.1 The power of interactive presentations
4.2 Playing for a living
4.3 How not to interact with your audience
4.4 Training the audience to interact
4.5 Audience interaction techniques
4.6 Key ideas about interacting through play

Tool 5. Exploit questions                                      
5.1 Asking the audience questions
5.2 Receiving their answers
5.3 Responding to their answers
5.4 Taking questions from the audience
5.5 Responding to their questions
5.6 Key ideas about exploiting questions

Tool 6. Make your volunteers heroes
6.1 The double-edged sword of volunteers
6.2 Selecting volunteers from willing audiences
6.3 Coaxing volunteers from reluctant audiences
6.4 Welcoming volunteers
6.5 Interacting with volunteers
6.6 Releasing volunteers
6.7 Key ideas about making your volunteers heroes

Tool 7. Relate through humour  
7.1 Scalpel please, nurse
7.2 Covert humour principles
7.3 Covert humour techniques
7.4 Overt humour principles
7.5 Overt humour techniques
7.6 Key ideas about relating through humour

How to improve
Recommended books
About the author

HOOK training