Structuring an opening that grabs attention and sets the scene will mean the audience will be with you for at least the next few seconds.
Before you start speaking, your audience will be on your side. They want to hear what you have to say and are interested in your views. You job is to meet their expectations. You can do this by seizing their interest from the beginning.
If you are talking to a group about a new idea coming from your division, make sure what you say up front will be interesting to the audience. For example “By adopting this new process, your division can save 6 hours per day” will be much more effective than “Today I’m going to tell you about a new process we have been trying in our division”.
If you can show from the beginning how your audience can benefit from listening further, then your opening will work.
The point of the first line is to create interest for the next thing you are going to say. Being slightly enigmatic is often a good approach. For example, opening with a question such as “Do you want to know how you can save money and lose weight? I’ll show you how.” Will automatically get people on the edge of their chairs listening for the answer to your question.
You want to get to the point in your first line. Don’t be vague and imprecise; be clear and full of impact. Think of stating a news headline: your opening should be short and precise. It should summarise the story and leave you wanting to know more.
So, to summarise, if you can grab attention, set the scene and create anticipation, then your opening is going to help you start your talk with a impact.
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