Eleven minutes into class and you’ve barely finished introducing today’s topic. You’re not even close to the meat of the lecture and your students are already dropping like flies. Even that girl who always sits front center is starting to glaze over and doodle. You always post all assignments, reading materials, and study guides in advance on Carmen. You’re always clear about your expectations, and your students score well on quizzes. What more is an upstanding instructor to do? How do you kick up that RateMyProf score from a noteworthy 3.9 safely into the high 4′s?
Bait the hook, says John Medina, neuroscientist and author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. According to Medina, your audience mentally checks out at the ten minute mark unless you’ve got them “hooked.” The basic idea is that every ten minutes, some element of your presentation should trigger an emotion. This can be laughter, fear, nostalgia, happiness, anger, etc. A hook has to be relevant to your subject matter and can be a story, a joke, a photo – just something that gives your listeners a break from the information overload. Read more about how to bait the hook and try it for your next lecture or presentation. What were your hooks? How did your listeners respond? Did you feel a better connection with your audience? Come back and comment below!