Public Speaking: Your Presentation Starts Before You Walk on Stage

Whenever you open your mouth, whether your audience is ten people or a thousand, you naturally want to get a specific message across. Whenever you set out to present, persuade, and propel with the spoken word you want to keep the audience engaged…from the moment you walk on stage or to the front of the room. Your goal is to have a long term impact and speak to be remembered and repeated.


Your presentation really begins long before you open your presentation. You need to know who your audience is and what they do. Ask “What is a day in their life?” If possible in advance interview a cross section of your audience. Why you were invited to speak? What connection do you have to them? Why would they care about your subject? With this information you can tie your key points to their lives, jobs and goals.


Get to your meeting room early. Get organized and test your audio visual. Then walk around and engage your audience. Yes, just talk to them. Introduce yourself, ask them how they are enjoying the conference, congratulate them for sitting up front, ask about their experience with your subject, have fun with them if they are sitting in the back, “Are you going to leave early if the speaker is no good?”
Once you have connected with them they will feel obligated to give you their attention at the beginning. Then get off to a good start so that the audience will stay engaged.


Engage your audience immediately with a powerful, relevant opening that is not an introduction of who you are. Most likely they know, or you are introduced. Even if you are not introduced say something of impact first so that they care! Imagine your audience is thinking “So what? Who cares? What is in it for me? Why should I listen to you?” Some of them are.


You can start with an interesting statistic, a story, a rhetorical question, a bold claim, tie into the meeting theme, congratulate them on a team or company accomplishment…just don’t waffle!

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“I wanted a super bowl-quality coach, and I was lucky to be introduced to Patricia Fripp. Her help in coaching and scripting was world class. With Patricia Fripp on your team, you can go places.”
– Don Yaeger, Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, New York Times Best-Selling Author

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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote SpeakerPatricia Fripp works with those who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.