Learn effective strategies for capturing the audience's attention in the first 30 seconds of a speech. From using attention-grabbing questions or stories to leveraging powerful quotations and visual illustrations, these techniques will help you start your speech strong and engage your audience.
The video discusses five ways to start a speech with a bang, focusing on the first 30 seconds or so. It emphasizes the importance of starting clean, sticking to the plan, and avoiding distractions. The video also explores the use of concise storytelling, asking key questions, sharing powerful quotations, presenting interesting facts or statistics, and using visual illustrations as effective opening strategies. It provides tips and techniques for each approach to engage the audience and set the stage for a successful speech introduction.
- You're going to learn how to start a speech.
We'll look at five ways to start with a bang.
We're talking about the first 30 seconds or so.
Some people call this the attention grabber,
your hook or simply your opening.
Before we get into the five strategies,
here's some big picture prerequisite advice
to make sure your opening is effective.
The goal is to start with a bang
rather than to stumble through your opening.
That means you have to start clean.
That means double check all of your technology
ahead of time, so you don't stall
while you try to figure that out
during the opening of your speech.
Also, stick to your plan.
Don't do anything off-script
or put in nervous chatter before you're opening.
Don't get distracted by a passing thought
or something somebody said to you just a minute ago.
Resist all of those last minute temptations
to add something to your opening
that you didn't prepare and practice.
These common missteps will cost you momentum and impact.
Ideally, you avoid all of those pitfalls
so it looks something like this.
Somebody introduces you.
People might clap a little bit to welcome you
and the moment those applauds stop,
you take a deep breath and you open with your hook,
exactly the way you planned it.
Be sure to download your free PDF
of these seven instant tips
to make you a more confident speaker.
That's in the description below the video
with other relevant links.
We'll look at five of the best ways to open with a bang.
You can use these as standalone openings
and I'll give you some pro tips at the end to combine them.
First, my favorite way to open
is by telling a concise story.
A story is a high risk way to open
but it also has the highest potential rewards.
So let's maximize those rewards and minimize the risks.
One way to contain the risks
is to make sure your story relates directly
to the rest of your presentation.
Now, it could be a great story
but if it doesn't relate to the heart of your message
then people will wonder why you told the story.
So find a story that fits the rest of your message.
Another risk is telling a long-winded story.
Make sure you're concise.
Aim for 30 seconds or maybe a minute, for an opening story.
Inexperienced storytellers tend to go on and on
and weave all over the place.
If you open with a long-winded story
it will kill the energy in the room.
Practice until your story is concise.
A good story also has a clear structure or logic.
Stories should have a beginning, middle, and end
and then a lesson learned.
The beginning can be one sentence
and explain the people, time, and place.
About six years ago, I started a YouTube channel
right here in this room.
The middle of the story is where the action takes place.
I had a goal, but what I didn't have
was any experience making videos.
Up 'til then I didn't even own a camera.
I knew nothing, but I started making videos every week
and I learned as I went along,
and six years later I've posted over 200 videos
and the channel now has over 400,000 subscribers.
The middle of the story
is usually where people overcome some struggle.
The endings to stories are usually pretty concise as well.
The success of the channel
has truly changed my entire life and led to opportunities
I would've never been able to enjoy otherwise.
The last part is called the lesson learned.
You could also call this the moral to the story.
This is the key insight you want your listeners to remember.
This long journey taught me what John Maxwell always says,
"Everything worthwhile in life is uphill".
If we put that whole story together
it would last about 30 seconds or so.
That simple structure will also keep you on track
so you land on the right spot at the end
and can give the rest of your speech introduction.
The best stories show some transformation or growth.
That's why stories have the highest potential reward,
as an opening.
People love stories that have that before and after quality.
The second way to open a speech
is by asking your audience some key questions.
This is a really common way to start a speech.
Some people say it's overdone
but I'll give you some tips to enhance this a bit.
On the plus side,
asking relevant questions can create instant engagement
because it helps listeners see themselves
in your presentation.
I don't recommend you ask listeners
to answer your questions out loud, right at the beginning.
That could take your presentation in the wrong direction
but ask questions that engage our minds
because that will draw us into the world
of your presentation in a mental conversation.
Questions peak our curiosity.
Now, here's some tips to enhance your questions.
First, make sure your questions
set up the main message of your presentation.
You wanna ask questions
that your speech will respond to in some satisfying way.
So let's say I was doing a presentation
on financial planning for retirement.
I might ask, "If you could retire to a dream location,
where would that be?"
That question can easily lead right to my main message
about retirement planning.
Second, enhance it more
by asking two or three connected questions
rather than a single question.
Questions usually go by a little too quickly
so ask two or three and pause briefly in between.
That will build momentum.
So I'll go back and redo the first sample question
and add two more questions with pauses.
If you could retire to a dream location
where would that be and who would be with you
and what would you be doing there together?
Each question is really concise
but when you add them together, they create more engagement.
Third, open by sharing a powerful quotation.
Quotations are great openings
because we can always find somebody
who said what we're trying to say,
with even more impact.
And the great thing about quotations
is that they've already stood the test of time.
If it's the kind of passage that people quote
then it will likely have a positive impact
on your listeners as well.
So let's say I was doing a speech
about the importance of creating a big ambitious vision
for our lives and chasing our dreams.
A topic that I am very fond of, by the way.
I might open with a quotation like this,
a quotation I mentioned a moment ago.
The famous writer, John Maxwell, has often said,
"Everything worthwhile in life is uphill".
A couple of tips on using quotations.
Make sure the person you are quoting,
actually said or wrote those words.
I saw this quotation come out of John Maxwell's mouth myself
and I looked up later to double check it.
You don't want to get a quote wrong
or attribute it to the wrong person.
The key though, is to find a quotation that makes an impact
and relates directly to the heart of your message.
Just like all the other ways to open a speech,
the quotation should be a natural jumping off place
for whatever comes next in your introduction.
Fourth, open with an interesting fact or statistic.
This works really well if you have any concrete data
that's a little bit surprising.
As you're preparing,
you might come across a bit of information
and you say to yourself, "Whoa, I didn't know that".
If a statistic or fact grabs your attention like that
it will likely have a similar impact on your listeners.
For example, the other day I was looking up information
about getting struck by lightning
because people are always using the chances
of getting struck by lightning as a point of comparison
and the first statistic I found wasn't all that interesting.
The chances of getting struck by lightning
in any given year, is about one in a million.
So struck by lightning equals one in a million.
But then I noticed another statistic that did surprise me
and here's how I might share that in a speech opening.
Would it shock you to learn
that according to the Centers for Disease Control,
adult males account for 80% of all fatal lightning strikes?
To me, that was an unexpected statistic
and I wanted to learn more.
I told that to a couple of friends
and they both said, "Really?"
The takeaway for you is that
as you're doing your preparation research,
you may find yourself surprised
or wanting to know more about what you're reading.
That's when you know you've come across a fact
or a statistic that could be a very good hook
that will make the audience want to pay attention
to the rest of your message.
The trouble with facts and statistics as an opening
is that they're quite short,
so I recommend using a question or a concise story
that leads to that interesting statistic.
In fact, you may notice
that I did exactly that a moment ago.
I told a concise story about
how I was looking into lightning strikes,
and then I also did it with a question,
"Would it surprise you to know?",
and then I gave the statistic.
Using a story or a questions
will enhance the statistic
and make it stand out even more.
And by the way, word of warning about using facts and stats.
Do your homework, cite your sources,
and verify all research and use the information fairly.
The fifth way to open is by using a visual illustration.
This is a catchall strategy.
This could be a visual image you show on a screen.
It could be a short dramatization,
skit or dialogue where you act something out.
You could do a physical demonstration or handle a prop
that illustrates a piece of your message.
You could ask your audience members to participate with you
by taking some small action,
like reaching in their pocket to take out an object
or giving them a task to do on their phones.
On the surface,
it might not seem like most speech topics
lend themselves naturally to visual illustrations,
but if you use a little creativity
you can make it work.
I recently did a talk
where I held up a king from a chess set
and I was making a point about leadership
and that enhanced the message a little bit for that moment.
I've seen speakers dress up in costumes,
do back flips, do a magic trick.
If you have any creative streak inside you,
think about how you might do something interesting
or unique that visually illustrates your message.
And now for some pro tips to enhance the rest of these.
Pro tip number one is develop your opening
after you've created a draft
of the rest of the presentation.
One reason I wait to create the introduction
is that the research and preparation process
usually provides me some great potential hooks.
So as you prepare your materials,
take note of any item that jumps out to you.
Whenever I notice a great piece of content,
I put a star next to it and label it as a potential opening.
Pro tip number two, combine openings.
Meaning use more than one of the five openings
we've talked about, combine them.
In fact, I've already done that a couple of times
in this video.
I combined a question with a statistic.
"Would it shock you to learn
that adult males account for 80%
of all fatal lightning strikes?"
That combines a stat and a question.
I told a story and I capped it off
with a quotation from John Maxwell
which is why I quoted him twice in this video.
All five of these openings can work in various combinations.
Just make sure you're still communicating concisely.
Aim for 30 seconds, maybe a minute, attention grabber total.
Remember to download the free PDF of the seven instant tips
to make you a more confident speaker.
There's a link to that and the expandable description below.
I also have another video
on how to end a speech with impact.
There's a link to that below as well
and I'd love to hear your ideas
about great ways to start a speech.
Tell me about that in the comments section below.
Until next time, thanks.
God bless, and I will see you soon.
Starting a speech with a bang is crucial to capture your audience's attention and make a lasting impact. In this blog post, we will discuss five effective ways to open a speech, along with some pro tips to enhance each strategy.
One powerful way to start your speech is by telling a concise and relevant story. A well-crafted story can engage your audience and create an emotional connection. Make sure your story relates directly to the main message of your presentation and has a clear structure, including a beginning, middle, and end. Practice until your story is concise and impactful.
Another popular way to start a speech is by asking your audience relevant questions. This creates instant engagement and allows your listeners to mentally participate in your presentation. Ask two or three connected questions, pausing briefly in between to build momentum. Ensure that your questions set up the main message of your speech and will be responded to in a satisfying way during your presentation.
Quotations are a great way to capture attention and add credibility to your speech. Find a quotation that relates directly to the heart of your message and makes an impact. Make sure to attribute the quote correctly and double-check the accuracy. The quotation should serve as a natural jumping off point for the rest of your introduction.
If you have a surprising or thought-provoking fact or statistic related to your speech topic, it can be an excellent attention grabber. Ensure that the information is accurate and cite your sources. To enhance the impact, use a concise story or question before presenting the statistic to make it stand out even more.
A visual illustration can be a powerful way to start a speech. This can include showing an image on a screen, acting out a short skit or dialogue, performing a physical demonstration, or involving audience participation. Be creative and find a visual representation that complements your message and engages your audience.
By utilizing these five attention-grabbing strategies, you can start your speech with a bang and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Remember to practice your opening and make sure it aligns with the rest of your presentation. Good luck!
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