Let’s be honest. As much as people hate giving a presentation, it’s no thrill listening to most of them. The first cue we’re in for a rough time? When the speaker (make that the majority of speakers) begins with “I’m going to talk to you today about (fill in the blank).” Cue the snooze!
Then there is that a stack of pages the speaker is holding. Pages, in full text, indicating the seasons might change before it’s through. Or the alternative – the speaker balancing, seemingly, hundreds of index cards. At least we can amuse ourselves waiting for a stack of cards to drop, or for the speaker to become flustered when a card is out of sequence.
Speakers: how do you capture our attention from the very start when you are already nervous about speaking? By shocking us as soon as you open your mouth. By motivating us to listen to you. Yes, public speaking is the number one fear. However, it is your first few lines that offer you the greatest anxiety – and threaten us with an anticipated nap. To avoid dispensing “verbal Ambien,” script those lines:
- Draft your first two sentences. No more or you will be glancing down too long.
- Type those out in a large font on an 8 1/2″ X 11″ piece of paper. This is your cue card.
- Memorize those lines. Know them well enough that you can look directly at your audience.
If there are still “spots in your eyes,” don’t worry. Just glance down at your large, easy-to-read cue card. With that technique, you will be more confident about approaching the presentation.
Now, how should you construct that opening? Instead of beginning by stating what you’re going to do, grab out attention with a:
- Startling Statistic. People are fascinated with reading/hearing statistics. Use one that is relevant and watch your audience perk up.
- Rhetorical Question. This gives the audience a task from the first sentence, and keeps them from tuning out.
- Brief Anecdote. Emphasis is on the word “brief.” It should be no longer than 20-30 seconds. Audiences love stories.
- Quotation. Make sure it’s brief, not stuffy and has “punch.”
- Paint a Picture. Ask your audience to visualize a good/bad scenario, which transitions to your statement of intent.
In other words, be creative. Once you have our attention, you can complete your introduction by telling us how you’re going to inform, persuade or motivate us. You’ll be more relaxed. We’ll be on your side, and ready to listen.
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Want to learn more about ways Executive Speak/Write can make your public speaking resonate with your audience and accomplish your goals? Take a look at the Programs we customize for our clients or contact us to discuss your needs. We can reduce your anxiety and increase your effectiveness. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steve_Clements