“I try to make my opening line 15 words or less.”
– Charles R. Swindoll
Start strong and keep the flow going.
The first few lines of your speech are important tools to persuade, influence or inspire your audience.
You’ve seen how to use effective phrases in the first and second part of this series. So here are the final five opening lines that you can adopt for future presentations.
11. Quote away
Utilizing quotes will never go out of style for the simple reason –they create associations much more powerful in the brain as they have heard the words spoken before. Try to keep the short for maximum impact.
Example topic: Building company culture
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want too be doing what I’m about to do today?”- Steve Jobs
12. Repeat mode
By repeating certain words at the beginning or end of successive phrases, you can create an impact on listeners’ thoughts and emotions. Highlight keywords by alternating the use of tone, delivery and silence.
Example topic: Employee retention
Spend less on new hires, spend less on training, spend less on severance pay. Is this even possible in our industry?
Over the next 30 minutes, you will find out how your HR team can do that – spend less.
13. Use rhetoric
This is a twist to the question method employed for opening lines. Instead of asking a direct question, add a rhetorical one. Your query may have possible responses, but the basic goal here is to emphasize your point.
Example client pitch: Your new email marketing software
Email is dead in 2017, isn’t?
You follow up with a matching or contrary statement.
11. Pause a bit
Instead of rushing off to begin your session, take a deep breath and stay silent for a few seconds. How does this help?
You clear your nerves, build anticipation in minds of audience members, and come across as a confident speaker.
Combine this pausing technique with an image or quote slide for greater effect.
12. Amplify minor ideas
Use a secondary idea as an indication of a serious or bigger problem. While the theme may seem farfetched, the unexpected connection will shock or surprise your audience.
Example topic: Role models and eating disorders in pre-teens
42% of 9-12 years old girls want to look like Barbie… 26% admit to skipping a meal… 9% secretly throw up food.
With your subsequent statements, turn this into a national or global issue which warrants action.
Which of these 15 methods are your favourite way of opening? Share your tips with us in your comments.