I can’t overemphasize the importance of capturing and holding attention. As a public speaker, it’s the first place you can fail to be understood, remembered, and believed.
Holding attention is very important in a presentation. Otherwise people won’t listen to what you say or hear what you say. That means you will also fail to persuade them to take the action you need them to take.
I think inside the mind of all your audience members, they are thinking that this presentation is probably going to be boring. That’s the bad news.
However, the good news is that this gives you an opportunity to take them by surprise and do something unpredictable.
You may be a great business speaker, but no one will notice if you don’t start with a powerful, intriguing opening sentence.
After all, smokers don’t like matches that fail to light with the first strike, and listeners don’t like speakers who fail to get to the point and say something interesting.
Let’s say you want to talk about cyber security. Well, it’s not a good idea to say, “I’d like to take a few minutes to say a few words about a subject that’s very near and dear to my heart. And, I hope it will be near and dear to your heart when I finally get around to talking about it. And, that is the subject of cyber security.”
Rather, you should say something like, “When you lose your data, you will lose money. You will waste lots of time, and you will probably lose your mind to boot.”
Here’s another tip: at the beginning, don’t say, “Hi there! Thanks for having me!”
The six people who spoke before you have already said that. Your listeners have heard it six times.
Capturing and holding attention is an art, but one that’s easy to master. When you begin, you’ve simply got to say something unpredictable–don’t be ho-hum!
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