A little over a month ago, Catherine and I went downtown for a date night at the theater. Following an awesome series of Spanish tapas at Solera we wound up in comfy seats watching a story unwind in France.
I blogged about it in this post on Tumblr, but since my activities there are fleeting at best, thought I would link to it from here.
Bottom line: Whenever you have an audience, the best way to ensure their attention from the outset is to help them forget about the places or situations from which they had just come. Bring the stage, podium, etc. to them to such an extent that it, literally, becomes part of their own experience and not something which they are watching or to which they are merely listening.