by Jeffrey Gitomer
Most presentations are exceptionally ineffective, and even fewer have great beginnings.
The strategy I have always used at the beginning of a talk is one that I refer to as: start in the middle. Rather than greet the audience, I begin by telling a story, almost mid-sentence. The audience is not forced to listen; they’re compelled to listen.
If I don’t tell a story, I begin with a question. One that I believe most people in the audience can relate to. I’ll ask, “How many of you, when driving around in your car, listen to the music you grew up with?” And most audience members will rise their hand. I have immediately gained engagement. Not only are people listening, but they’re also participating. It’s also likely that most people have never heard that questions before.
I’ve not only engaged them, I’ve made them think – and consider new information. After I have asked the question, I make a point. Now they can’t wait hear what I have to say next. After I make a point, I say something funny. I don’t tell a joke, I use humor.
Within the first two minutes, I engage the audience, I make them consider new information, I get them to participate, I get them to laugh and I make a point.”