We have been talking about using a STRONG directive question in our 90-minute presentation to open the chat, focus attention, and get audience agreement (immediately). If you are new to speaking and presenting that is one of the best strategies. I believe it is one of the first couple slides. How many of you would like to become and expert speaker and make millions of dollars or pounds, in only 1 or 2 hours a week? It is a GREAT open. And others service their purpose at different times.
Here are a couple of examples:
1. Powerful Quote: Start with a quote that resonates with the core message of your presentation. For instance: “Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ Today, I’m here to talk about…” OR his famous “I have a Dream..”
2. Provocative Question: Begin with a question that makes the audience think deeply. “Have you ever wondered what it truly means to be free?”
3. Dramatic Statistic: Open with a surprising fact or statistic that’s relevant to your topic. “Did you know that every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life? Mental health is not a luxury—it’s a necessity.”
4. Personal Anecdote: Share a personal story that links to the topic of your presentation. “Three years ago, I stood at the edge of bankruptcy. Tonight, I’ll share the journey of how I turned things around and built a dollar-pound property business.”
5. Imagery: Create a vivid picture with words. “Imagine a world where every child, regardless of background, has an equal shot at success.”
6. Interactive Opening: Engage the audience directly. “By a show of hands, how many of you believe in second chances? Keep those hands up as I delve into the transformative power of redemption.” I tend to use this pattern fairly regularly.
7. Challenging Statement: Begin with a statement that might be contrary to popular belief but aligns with your message. “We’ve been led to believe that failure is the end I’m here to tell you it’s only the beginning.”
Remember, the key to an effective opening is not just to capture attention, but to set the tone and context for everything that follows. Choose the method that aligns best with your topic and audience.