It’s 3.07pm Friday afternoon. Mr Pickles from accounting has just finished setting up the projector. His first slide burns brightly on the wall behind him…
You rub your temples… It’s time.
“Good afternoon. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Larry Pickles. I’m from the accounting department. Today I’d like to talk to you about a new process…”
It’s going to be a long afternoon. Friday night drinks can’t come soon enough.
Mr. Pickles has uttered quite a few sentences of his introduction already. Already there are big problems.
If you were in his audience how would you feel?
Bored out of your mind.
So far, Mr. Pickles has done only one thing: talked about himself. He’s doing a standard, everyday business presentation. They’re all the same, and audiences are used to switching off. If he wants to have any chance of being listened to he needs to start his speech differently.
Don’t make the same mistake as Mr. Pickles in your next presentation.
When you want to open your speech effectively you can take a leaf out of the copywriter’s rule book:
Enter the conversation already going on in your prospect’s [audience’s] mind.
In other words, if you want attention you need to align yourself with your audience’s existing thinking.
Here are 3 amazing lines we can use to open a speech which align ourselves with the audience:
1. Have you ever wondered why..?
2. Here’s how you can…
3. What if you could..?
Let’s imagine our presentation is about the implementation of a new process. You know your audience is not going to be receptive to the extra workload of this new process, however it will save them time in the long-term by removing some compliance tasks. The compliance tasks are seen as time-wasters by the office staff.
Try these opening lines:
“Have you ever wondered why you have to complete so many time-consuming administration tasks?”
“Here’s how you can save yourself time everyday, just by doing this little process.”
“What if you could claw back an extra fifteen minutes every day?”
Ask yourself, what is my audience thinking and give these opening lines a try in your next speech.
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