The opening lines of your presentation – whether it’s a sales, business, or professional presentation – can be compared to the opening scenes of a movie. We all know the thrill of a blockbuster that grabs our attention from the first frame, versus the agony of a slow-starter that leaves us squirming in our seats. The first 30 seconds (and also, the last 30 seconds) of your speech have the strongest impact on your audience, so it is worth giving your opening words some extra attention.
Naturally, there are a number of approaches to being powerful and immediately engaging from your first words. Here are three of my favorite options:
- A brief, compelling intro story and a question: “As a brilliant consultant, what would you have done in this circumstance?”
- A rhetorical question: “If I were to ask you, ‘Is 2015 going to be the year you double your sales?’ Perhaps you’d say yes? Perhaps you’d say no? Most likely you’d say, ‘Patricia, I would love it to be, can you tell me how?’ Well, congratulations. You’re in the right place, at the right time, and in the next 60 minutes we will look at 14 specific ways you can double your business.”
- An interesting statistic or a little known fact from the audience’s world: My favorite example was the time I was booked to speak to 350 Seventh-day Adventists pastors about how to design and deliver a more charismatic sermon. Now, I am smart enough to know people are going to be looking at the program thinking, “Hmm, she’s the only person on the program who isn’t a minister. How can she tell me how to write a better sermon? I write one every week. I bet she isn’t even a Seventh-day Adventist.” So I walked on stage and said, “465 times in the Bible, it says ‘It came to pass.’ It doesn’t say ‘It came to stay.’ And unless your sermon is well constructed, artfully crafted, and charismatically delivered, it will not come to stay in the hearts, minds, and lives of your congregation.” When you hear 350 “Amens,” you know you’ve got their attention.
The right opening is key to a successful presentation; choose yours thoughtfully.
“Opening Phrases You Can Use – Fripp Virtual Training Video,” “Open And Close Your Presentations with Power,” “Use a Quote to Open Your Talk,” “Options to Open Your Presentation,” and “The First 30 Seconds” are just a few more of the many resources on Fripp.com to help you effectively open your presentations.
Fortunately, even if you are not a born speaker, you can still master the ability to present yourself and your ideas effectively. Get the help you need on your own schedule.
Fripp Virtual Training is a state-of-the-art web-based training platform that emulates live training and coaching. It is as if Presentation Expert and Executive Speech Coach, Patricia Fripp were sitting in front of you. FrippVT is designed to be immediately engaging and makes it fun to learn. If you are a novice presenter or a seasoned professional, you will find the content both practical and relevant.
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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.