SpeakerQuestion: What should be the first words spoken when I start a presentation?

Many speakers go into default mode with something unoriginal and boring: “It is a pleasure to speak to you today,” “thank you for inviting me,” or “I appreciate your being here.”  But successful presenters hook their audience immediately, giving them a reason to listen.

Forget the platitudes and start with what author James Humes, Speak Like Churchill, Stand like Lincoln, calls the “power opener” — a statement that grabs attention and differentiates your position right from the start. For example, imagine attending your company’s annual sales meeting and hearing this opening:

“2013 promises to biggest sales year in our history . . . unless we blow it!”

Thank you M.W., Information Services, Austin, Texas. 

For a list of effective opening techniques, check out this month’s SpeakerToolbox.

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