Recently I did a post on the fact that buyers bounce from your presentation in 15 seconds. How do you stop them in their tracks and make them pay attention from the start?
Say Something Controversial
As the hallmark of best-in-class speeches, TED talks provide a rich teaching ground for learning how to wow an audience. For example, one TED talk started by saying something controversial in that it was the opposite of what people were expecting: “Most people who speak at TED are here because they succeeded. I’m here because I haven’t”.
Say Something Funny
Joking during your speech is a risky move. After all, even comedians bomb. Where do you go after bombing in the first few minutes of your speech? But humour is the best engagement tool, especially to start. My hero, motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer used to start every speech before his death with “I turned 72 yesterday and almost had sex. Just like I almost had sex the day before and the day before that.” He would have the audience chuckling.
Ask a Question
The human mind tries to answer a question any time it is asked something. So why not say something like “Hi, I’ve got a question–how many of you have almost gone bankrupt in your business?” Hands will go up and people will start listening.
Tell Them Why They Should Listen
Brain scientist Dr. Lara Boyd’s TED talk starts with this sentence that hooks them from the get-go: “After watching this, your brain will not be the same”. That’s a promise that no audience can ignore.
Tell Them Your Credentials
Sometimes you need to impress an audience to wake them up from the start of your presentation. The same TED talker in the above example said this in her opening speech: “I’m Dr. Lara Boyd and I’m a brain researcher here at the University of BC”. Of course, make sure that your credentials are linked to your topic.
Tell Them The Pay-Off
Motivational guru Mel Robbins opens her talk with “I’m going to tell you everything I know in less than 18 minutes about how to get what you want”. What better pay off can there be than that?
Spice up your opener when you present so that you can influence your audience better. Nobody wants to snooze through your presentation, believe me!