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on Opening & Closing Techniques
Powerful Public Speaking Opening
If you've done any public speaking at all, you've
quickly realized that you've got to capture people's
Most speakers' openings are weak. They start
out by thanking the hosts, thanking the group,
asking "can the people in the back hear me okay"
or even worse, "I don't usually do public speaking..."
While there's nothing wrong with being polite
and thanking your host or your audience, it's
frankly just boring with a capital B.
If you want to open politely that's fine, but
there's a surefire technique to add spice and
life to your opening: And it's called, "The Grabber".
The grabber has one job and one job only: to
grab the attention of your audience and force
them out of their half-asleep state and wide awake
waiting to hear what you'll say next.
Here's 3 kinds of grabbers to get your creative
The Big Promise:
Making a big, hard-to-believe promise shakes people
out of their slumber.
The more unbelievable and outrageous the promise
is, the better it grabs people's attention.
Of course, you'll have to deliver on your promise.
For example, I've started out training on conquering
stage fright and fear of public speaking by saying
"I can take anyone in this room and totally, completely
eliminate all stage fright in 5 minutes or less".
That's pretty outrageous claim to make and a big
promise, so people are glued to my presentation
wanting to find out my methods.
What kind of outrageous claim and huge promise
can you make? Just be sure you can back it up!
This is simply a shocking statement that grabs
Scary statistics make for good shockers. Think
about your topic and area of expertise and see
how many scary statistics you can gather up.
Tossing out 2 or 3 scary statistics right up
front can really rivet audience attention.
The Hair Raising Story:
It could be your story, or it could be the story
of someone you know like one of your customers
The hair raising story needs to be truly spellbinding
and fascinate people. Adding a "cliff hanger"
is an advanced application of the hair raising
story. That's where you cut the story off at the
point of the highest tension and say "I'll tell
you what happened later" and people will be hanging
on your every word and even be afraid to get up
and use the bathroom for fear of missing the rest
of the story!
Summary and bonus tip:
You can still start out polite saying "I'd like
to thank my hosts and all of you for being here"
then immediately shake them awake with your grabber.
No matter which type of grabber you use, the basic
structure of your grabber is to get your audience
to react with, "What?-I've never heard such a
thing before!" or "This I've got to hear!" or
"That can't be true!"