8 Successful Ways to Open Your Speech

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You, literally have thirty seconds to set the tone, establish credibility, and hook your audience into listening to you.

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Your opening sets the entire tone of your presentation (including whether you'll be interesting or not).

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The first minute is when you introduce your message and tell the audience why they need to hear it.

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Successful Opening #1 Go against the expected. Eg. “Everyone hates paying Taxes. Except me. I love paying my Taxes.” This hooks your audience. “Why would he love paying taxes?”

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Successful Opening #2 Ask a series of rhetorical questions. Not just one, but several. Eg. “When did life begin? How did we get on earth? Is there life on other Planets?” Your talk will challenge the audience’s intellect.

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Successful Opening #3 Open with a sound bite. Opening with a sound bite instantly gets the audience’s attention and conveys the theme of your talk. Eg. “Education is the key that unlocks the prison door of ignorance.”

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Successful Opening #4 Give a Shocking Statistic or Fact. Find something shocking that will instantly capture the audience’s attention. Eg. “In the time it takes you to listen to my talk, 1200 people will die of heart attacks somewhere in the world.”

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Successful Opening #5 Silence A pause, whether two seconds or 10 seconds, allows your audience to sit and quiet down. An extra pause brings all the attention right where you should want it – on you.

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Successful Opening #6 Start with a Powerful Quote and then add your own Twist. Eg. “Oprah Winfrey says ‘You can’t be friends with someone who wants your life.’ I’d add to that, ‘You can’t be friends with someone who wants your life and doesn’t want you to have it either.’”

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Successful Opening #7 Take them through a What If scenario. This is a great opening if you are talking about a product, service, or a solution to a problem. Eg. “What if you were debt free? Or, “What if you woke up tomorrow and didn’t have a weight problem?

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Successful Opening #8 Tell them a story that evokes emotion. Our brains are hard-wired to listen to and understand stories. To make this opening successful, you have to keep the story short.

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Sorry… Apologizing for giving the talk. Bonus Tips #1 Doing this conveys insecurity and should be avoided.

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Trying to be funny. Bonus Tips #2 Unless you’re giving a standup comedy act or are roasting someone, trying to open with a funny story or joke is a bad idea.

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Smile before speaking. Bonus Tips #3 Unless your presentation is a somber one, smiling indicates you are confident, and ready to present!

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Not prepared for speaking. Bonus Tips #4 Never, even if true, tell the audience you are not prepared for your presentation.

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Don’t make excuses. Bonus Tips #5 “I had a bad night.” “I misjudged the time it would take to get here.” “I had a family emergency”

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Why You Need to Start and End Your Speech Strongly?

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There are two concepts Primacy Primacy states that people remember most vividly what they hear at the beginning of a speech Recency Recency says those same people will strongly recall what you say at the end.

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To open your talk effectively, you need to connect with your audience somehow. BOTTOM LINE It sounds like a lot for thirty seconds. But, it’s the most important thirty seconds of your whole talk.

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