14 Attention Getters for Classrooms and Speeches

April 29, 2023

6 min read

Attention getters can start your speech off on the right foot.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a public speaker, a school teacher, or someone who’s giving a presentation at work — we can all agree that losing your audience’s interest isn’t a good feeling. 

Luckily, attention getters can mitigate this and help engage and captivate your audience. It’s a great tool to implement in the classroom, during a presentation, or during a speech.

We’ll explore what attention getters are, some great attention getter examples, and how to use them properly to make sure you can engage and keep your audience engaged.

What Are Attention Getters?

In a nutshell, attention getters are a means of grabbing someone’s attention through a visual or auditory signal. 

So, for example, if someone were to begin their presentation with an anecdote or an outrageous (but true) statement, those would qualify as attention getters. Flickering the lights on and off in a classroom is also an attention getter, even though there’s no auditory component. 

Attention Getters Examples

Attention getters are so versatile that they can be adapted for almost any situation. Here are some of the best attention getters examples to check out. 

Speech attention getters examples 

Luckily, there are tons of speech attention getters examples. Some of the best attention getters for speeches or presentations include:

  • Humorous anecdotes
  • Questions (both rhetorical and response-worthy questions are great choices)
  • A bold (but true) statement 
  • Relevant statistics
  • Visualizations
  • An interesting or intriguing anecdote
  • Jokes
  • A relevant quote
  • Analogies 

Classroom attention getters examples

Classroom attention getters can vary by the students’ ages or grades, so we’ll break them down into three groups: elementary school, middle school, and high school.

For elementary school students, you could try:

  • Teacher: “1, 2, 3, eyes on me!” (Response: “1, 2, eyes on you!”)
  • Teacher: “A, B, C…” (Response: “1, 2, 3!”)
  • Teacher: “3, 2, 1…” (Response: “Blast off!”)

Some options for middle school students include:

  • Teacher: “If you can hear my voice, clap once.” (Response: [students clap])
  • Teacher: “If you’re not talking, point at me.” (Response: [students point])
  • Teacher: “Eyes on me, please.” (Response: [students look])

For high school students, some attention getters you could try include:

  • Setting an alarm to go off
  • Raising your hand or clapping
  • Flickering the lights on and off

Types of Attention Getters

Attention getters can be pretty diverse in terms of what they’re used for. There are tons of types of attention getters, but we’ll just focus on the most common: for speeches and public speaking, and for classrooms.

Attention getters for speeches

Implementing attention getters in your speech or presentation is a great idea. Captivating the listeners in this way is an engaging method for ensuring your message is getting through to your target audience.

Here are some attention getter tips for public speaking that you should keep in mind.

1. Try starting with an anecdote. An anecdote is a short, personal story. These can help the audience relate to and identify with you, and it can be an interesting way to kick things off. For example, when you start your work presentation with an interesting or particularly comedic anecdote, it can help capture the attention of your audience. It can also set the tone for your entire presentation, so it’s one of the best attention getters.

2. Ask a thought-provoking question. To engage and get your audience thinking, try asking a question. You should ask a question that’s something worth pondering or will get discussion started. Your audience will wonder what you’ve got to say and this type of attention getter ensures they’re anticipating your response. In general, you should try to avoid close-ended questions. That’s because they’re usually “yes” or “no” questions and don’t provide good discussion points. 

3. Be sure to make eye contact. One of the most important aspects of speaking in public is making eye contact with your audience. It’s also a great way to get the audience’s attention. It’ll show them you’re speaking or presenting directly to them when you make eye contact with individual members of your audience. Making eye contact also shows that you’re comfortable and confident as a speaker, which helps engage audiences. 

4. Use some visual aids. If you’re trying to draw your audience’s attention, try using some visual aids. Using things like videos, graphics, diagrams, or slides can also emphasize key points in your speech. Visual aids can help your audience understand your presentation better and break up your speech.

5. Use your voice. The last thing you want to do during a speech or presentation is speak in a monotonic tone. This has the opposite effect on an audience and can bore them. Instead, try emphasizing important words and using various tones to engage your audience. To maintain your audience’s interest, you can also try changing up your volume, cadence, and speed during your speech.

6. Finish with a call to action. When you’re ready to wrap up, make sure you’ve still got your audience’s attention by using a call to action. Not only do they help you get their attention, but a call to action can also emphasize some of the main points you made during your speech or presentation.

Attention getters for the classroom

If you’re a teacher or work in education, you know that managing a room of students — no matter what age — isn’t exactly easy. Getting students’ attention can be difficult too, especially in the age of the iPhone and ChatGTP. But attention getters for the classroom can be a game changer. 

In the classroom, attention getters can help instructors get the attention of students using visual or auditory signals. These types are often “call and response,” meaning students hear or see the cue and respond, to show they’re paying attention. 

Nowadays, some teachers even grab inspiration from TikTok. Here are five excellent attention getters from teachers on TikTok worth trying if you’ve got a classroom of kids. 

  1. Here are some food-related attention grabbers from teacher @misscamposs.
  2. Teacher @the_mr.thomas uses a variety of attention getters, from specific media references to simpler call-and-response examples.
  3. On the other hand, teacher @thatweirdchoirteacher allowed her students to create their own creative attention grabbers
  4. For younger children who are in kindergarten, @katduhleen uses age-appropriate references to shows like “Scooby Doo.”
  5. Teacher @spicynuggets implements classroom attention getters that reference popular viral TikTok sounds and videos (e.g., “bombastic side eye” and “what you looking for, we got what you looking for!”).

How AI Can Help You Practice Attention Getters

If you’re trying to practice an attention getter — whether it’s for the classroom, a presentation, or a speech — there’s no better way to do so than Yoodli

Instead of practicing in a mirror (which is helpful too!), you can have your speech expertly analyzed by an AI speech coach. Unlike other AI communication coaches, speech coach apps, or in-person coaches, Yoodli is free to start. 

To begin, record or upload a video of yourself speaking. You could be practicing your speech or presentation, or simply practicing the attention getter. Once you’re done talking, Yoodli provides you with feedback and actionable insights. 

A screenshot of the analytics Yoodli provides for a speech given by Serena Williams
You can these valuable insights and coaching comments when you practice attention getters with Yoodli.

In addition to a full, timestamped transcript of what was said, you’ll get metrics and analytics regarding your speaking pace, word choice, body language, and filler word usage, among others. You can then use these insights — plus Yoodli’s actionable feedback and coaching suggestions — to completely transform the way you speak and present, including the way you use attention getters.

Learn how you can use Yoodli to practice not only attention getters but also public speaking:

You can easily use Yoodli to practice attention getters (and other public speaking tools).

Why Are Attention Getters Important?

Although they’re often overlooked, attention getters are very important. For those giving a speech or presentation, attention getters can secure the audience’s interest and keep them engaged. This will make it more likely that they remember your presentation or speech and more importantly, what was said. 

In the classroom, they’re just as important. They’re an essential tool for managing and maintaining a calm learning environment (no matter what ages the students are). 

The Key Takeaway

If you want to grab your audience’s attention, there’s no better way to do so than through an attention getter. These will also make sure your message — whether you’re presenting or teaching — sticks with your audience. Just make sure you practice a few attention getters before you implement them. 


Start practicing with Yoodli.

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