Public speaking tip: Grab attention with your opening

Public speaking tip: Powerful opening grabs attention

One of the keys to a successful presentation is a strong opening. You grab the audience’s attention and get them into your “world” from the start. A strong opening piques interest in your presentation, and the audience wants to hear more.

Too often speakers begin with “Thank you, Mr. Jones. It’s great to be here. I’m honored to …” and so on. That portion is OK but should come after your attention-grabbing introduction.

You have four techniques to choose from: question, statement, anecdote/story and quotation. Use one of these public speaking techniques the next time you craft a presentation.

Question: Develop a question based upon your theme or main point. I have used these as openers:

“How many of you enjoy public speaking and take advantage of every opportunity?”

“When you hear the term ham radio operator, what images come to mind?”

Then give your “thanks” comments and proceed into your presentation.

Statement/Declaration: For best effect, select a powerful bit of information from your copy. Let’s say your presentation is on world hunger. You could start like this:

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Public speaking tip – Check microphone before presentation

An effective presentation requires that you account for all elements. One that can be overlooked easily is the microphone at the lectern. Presenters tend to assume that the mic is set just right for the presentation. You shouldn’t assume that.

If you’re using the lectern microphone, test it prior to your presentation. You’re interested in the microphone’s “working area”; that is, the range at which it will pick up your voice well.

Some mics require you to be rather close. Other times you can stand in a normal posture while you deliver your presentation. (If you can adjust the mic gain or position, do so. Sometimes you can’t make any adjustments.) The performance of the microphone dictates how you stand and whether you are able to move about at the lectern.

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