5 great ways to open a speech

Discussion in 'Productivity' started by Adrian Niculescu, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. Adrian Niculescu

    Adrian Niculescu Member

    Jul 4, 2014
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    Some of my daily habits are to read something which will help me to elevate my career - at least 30 mins and also to publish content online - something to really help you in some way. I publish on my blog, on other websites I contribute to the reason being that I really want to touch as many lifes possible.

    You know, if at least one person will find something here which will be helpful in life or the career it means that what I do makes sense. I came across this morning an article about how to open a speech.

    Speaking on stage is one of the most rewarding professional experience and I'm looking to "do it" as often as possible to as diverse audiences as possible. And I know from the experience how important is to start with the right foot, connect with the audience and make a difference. Do I want to be boring? Hell, no! Do I want to see the people in the audience watching the clock on their phones and asking ... when will this end? Of course, not.

    According to Allan and Barbara Pease, authors of "The Definitive Book of Body Language," the audience forms 60 to 80 percent of its impression of a speaker within the first four minutes.


    I will add here the 5 great ways to open a speech and for every of them you will find an example in the original article. Ok?

    1. The startling statistic

    Opening with a startling statistic is a terrific way of grabbing the audience's attention from your first word. In order to be effective, the statistic should be related directly to the main purpose of your talk.

    "Statistic" doesn't mean the same as "data." If you're giving the audience a number, you should set it within a broader context to help infuse it with greater meaning.

    2. The anecdote

    A story, case study, or personal anecdote is perhaps the single most effective tool for transferring information from speaker to audience. In fact, Harvard Professor Howard Gardner once said that "stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader's arsenal."

    3. Ask a rhetorical question

    In his book "Words That Work," political strategist Frank Luntz writes that it's critical to help audiences visualize your topic by painting a vivid picture for them. He writes:

    "One word automatically triggers the process of visualization by its mere mention: imagine."

    Ask the audience to imagine something by using a rhetorical question. You don't have to use theword "imagine," but your question should trigger the same visualization process.

    4. Ask a "show of hands" question

    I often begin my media training and public speaking workshops with a "show of hands" question. Those questions can increase audience buy-in from the very beginning, since members of the audience are able to see how their answers compare to those of their peers. Plus, you can use this device to lead people to powerful self-realizations and conclusions.

    5. Speak with your audience

    I often begin by asking questions to the audience at the very beginning of a presentation. Doing so helps create a climate of audience participation from the start. Plus, their answers are often useful for helping me better understand the audience.


    The whole article and the examples can be found here.
    William Murray and Mike Newton like this.
  2. Paul Reaume

    Paul Reaume Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 7, 2014
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    Another great post Adrian. Good tips for any first meeting.

    Thanks again
    William Murray and Mike Newton like this.
  3. Mike Newton

    Mike Newton Administrator Staff Member

    Oct 16, 2013
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  4. William Murray

    William Murray Administrator Staff Member

    Sep 24, 2013
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    Very cool Adrian another area where I need to learn and practice :D

    Last time I spoke in front of a crowd, it didn't go too well..Ah well practice makes perfect as they say.
    Mike Newton likes this.

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