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 – Let your hands flow freely

Newer public speakers often wonder what to do with their hands. They assume they’ll be nervous, and fear they’ll look foolish if they don’t have just the “right” gestures.

In this public speaking tip, I say: Let ‘em be.

By that I mean leave your hands free to do what they want. Don’t worry. Even if you are quite nervous, your hands won’t do anything bizarre. In fact, they tend to act rather naturally while you’re speaking.

Hands generally follow the flow of the presentation. As you look one way, you will naturally gesture in that direction. Then as you turn to the other direction, the other hand will offer a gesture.

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