Surprise twists wake us up.
The brain is often in standby modus
With all the information coming at us, the brain needs to be efficient in dealing with this overload of stimuli. So it makes sense that the brain goes into standby modus a lot of the time, once it figures out there is no danger or something of interest. To counteract this natural process, you want to offer the audience (and their brains) - a surprise, some unexpected turn of events or detail that pulls the brain back to alert modus: "ah, I should keep listening this is getting interesting".
- violates expectations.
- generates interest and curiosity.
How to get your audience to listen?
Flight attendants have a real challenge to get passengers to listen. The following fight safety announcement from Karen Wood is solved creatively with unexpectedness: