Updated: Jan 4
Recently, I listened to a podcast of one of the best-known speakers. It was very enlightening until...
While explaining how to open the presentation, he suggested that you first thank the person who hired you to speak and then tell the audience something like, "It's a pleasure to be here with you today." All I could think about is, "Wow!"
To me, this is not an attractive opening. I think he is very intriguing. It does not immediately catch the audience, which is what you want to do. Why? Because it separates you from the speaker in the middle of the first word.
Think about it. If you are reading a magazine article, it is well worth the effort. There is no 'pre-article' in which the author writes how happy they are to be able to write your article. What would you think if, when you read this, it starts with, "It's a pleasure to write this for you."?
When you go to a play, the characters do not enter their opening line thank the producer and tell the audience that it is a pleasure to do it for them. They just get to it.
The best movies - at least in my opinion - quickly start with a scene that draws you closer, unlike the ones that made you stay a minute or two on the intro of a production company, followed by the names of major producers, director and many others.
When it comes to speaking, here are some of the best opening lines, using which you can start any presentation or speech, depending on your audience, your purpose, and the event.
Question (rhetorical or otherwise)
When you talk about SEO, you can start by saying, 'How many times do you feel stressed because, no matter how hard you try, you can't find your page ranked on the first page?'
Tell a story that quickly engages your audience in your presentation.
Shocking statement or statistics
Giving a statement or statistics that shock people is a good way to get your audience to sit down and pay attention.
Open with a statement your audience agrees with and capture their attention by opposing it. Depending on the audience, this might be dangerous.
Make people think. Motivational quotes can do just that. You can find quotes on almost any topic at www.brainyquote.com or other resources.
Take them to the past
Moving on from one occasion to another quickly gets the minds of the audience involved as they witness the event. Start by saying, "Let me take you back to ..." or "Let me take you back to ..."
Have people who can have a picture, effect, or future, and you have it there with you. Start by saying, "Think ..."
Things NOT to say include:
"Thank you" for the introduction.
"I would like to thank you ..."
"It's a pleasure to be here."
"I'm not good at this."
"I didn't get used to it."
"I need to apologize for ..."
"Today, I'd like to talk about ..."
And one more thing - humour is usually not a good idea. The jokes are powerful, but the organized jokes require a strong set, a well-executed punch line, and a set time that is hard for most of us to say.
The speaker I mentioned above opens the presentation in a way that works for him. But I would love to hear him deliver a presentation where he skips a dull opening and is ready to engage the audience. Although it is a small change, I believe it would have led him to be introduced with a bunch of excellent speakers to a few who are considered amazing, attracting his audience.
My advice to you is to decide which type of opening lines work best for you. No matter what, you will be better off - and more importantly, your audience will be better off - the sooner you catch them.
I believe that everyone should be able to share their knowledge and experience with others. Unfortunately, most people do not know how to do this effectively and consistently. As a public speaking coach, Writerians helps managers, entrepreneurs, and other professionals speak with confidence - whether they present at meetings, speak on stage, or sell to potential. As a result, they have ample opportunity to reach their full potential and achieve the success that they have been striving for. See how you can speak with confidence every time you speak in front of others =>