Chapter 3: Developing Compelling Presentations

More Tips on Using Visual Aids:

Opening Your Speech with Style, Flair, and Impact

So when are you ready to decide on a powerful opener for your speech? You do it when you've finalized nearly everything else. You settle on the content—your objectives, key elements, outline, body of the speech, and visual aids—then you decide on your opening. Anything outside of that is putting the cart before the horse.

The most important thing you need to do when your selecting an opening is to keep your main goals top of mind. You're on a mission to:

  1. Grab their attention,
  2. Establish a rapport; and
  3. Introduce the topic. If you fail to accomplish any one of these elements then you're not going to connect with your audience. For instance, let's say you manage to grab their attention and establish a rapport but you never introduce the topic, then they'll stop listening after a while because they're unclear on the topic. At the same time, if you grab their attention and introduce the topic but never establish a rapport with your audience—in other words, prove to them that you're the right person to deliver that particular message—they'll eventually tune you out.

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