is the most important part of the work."—Plato
When we speak, we have about 60 seconds to capture our audience's attention, establish credibility, orient them to our topic, and motivate them to listen.
If you waste those precious opening seconds with a joke, an agenda, an apology, housekeeping details, a string of thank-yous, or a rambling pointless paragraph littered with "ums" and "uhs," your audience's minds are likely to drift, and you may not get them back.
You, your message, and your audience deserve much more.
You need to put the art in the start, the most important part of the work.
1. Tell a captivating story.
As humans, we're hard-wired to enjoy and learn from stories. From bedtime stories and campfires, to Broadway theaters and boardrooms — heroes, villains, conflict, plots, dialogue, and lessons learned draw us in, remind us of our own lives, and hold our attention." You can tell a story about yourself or another person who the audience can learn from. "Another option: tell a fable, wisdom tale, historic event, or anecdote. The idea is, start with a brief 60- to 90-second narrative that launches your speech and captivates your listeners, and make sure the story encapsulates the key point of your message.
2. Ask a rhetorical thought-provoking question.
When crafted and delivered well, rhetorical questions influence an audience to believe in the position of the speaker.
3. State a shocking statistic or headline.
The impact of a bold claim ideally persuades the audience to listen and respond positively to your recommendation and next steps.
4. Use a powerful quote.
Employ the wise words of a well-known person because the name allows you to tap into his or her credibility, likeability, and notoriety.
5. Show a gripping photo.
Use photos instead of text, when possible. A quality photo adds aesthetic appeal, increases comprehension, engages the audience's imagination, and makes the message more memorable. Don't forget visual metaphores.
6. Use a prop or a creative visual aid.
A prop is a magnetic tool that hooks your audience and keeps them watching — or listening. It can also be used to emphasise your point. Think about how you could use items like a big wall clock, a colorful gift bag, juggling balls, a deck of cards, a bunch of carrots, or another prop, to introduce your topic, captivate the audience, inject humor, and drive home your message.
7. Play a short video.
The drama, people, pictures, sound, feeling - videos evoke emotional responses.