Does This Speech Opening Sound Familiar?
“Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you. It’s a great honor to be here to present my speech….”
Does this speech opening sound familiar? It should, because it’s one of the most commonly used methods to begin a talk. It’s the same thing that nearly every other speaker says. This opening practically guarantees one thing… the audience is about to ‘check out’ of your presentation.
To quote Hall of Fame speaker and speech trainer Patricia Fripp, “Sameness is boring.” And boring is quickly forgotten.
If you want your message to stand out, say something different when you begin.
You may be asking, ‘How do I create an opening that is different, one that ‘stands out from the crowd’?’
Excellent question. I’m glad you asked.
There are several effective opening tools you can use:
1) Ask a question (ie. “What would you do if you had an extra $1500 every month?”)
2) Make a startling statement (ie. “You can change your entire future if you adopt this one, simple habit!”)
3) Offer an interesting statistic (ie. “Every baby born in America will end it’s first day $156,250 in debt!”)
4) Begin with a story
The Power of Stories to Grab Audience Attention
Stories are my favorite method of beginning a presentation. Stories can immediately pull the audience into your talk, create curiosity and orient them to your main message. They also make you stand out from other speakers.
One of the keys to this strategy is to tell stories from your life, then share the lesson you learned from those events.
It really is that simple.
Too many speakers use tired and worn-out anecdotes or stories that they find in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul,’ the Internet or pick-up from other speakers. Chances are good that some of your audience members have already heard these. If that’s the case, you’ll lose credibility for your lack of originality.
Why Tell YOUR Stories?
When you share your story and your experience, you guarantee that no one has heard your presentation. How could they – it’s your story and yours alone.
This doesn’t mean the lesson you learned is unique, but your interpretation of it is. For example, in my speech ‘Put the Fun in Your Funk,’ I talk about injecting more humor into your life to get through difficult times.
Nothing unique about that, but what made the speech distinct was my experience of making a fool of myself in my car one day while stuck in traffic, and the reaction of another driver. The other story was my humorous behavior in the hospital when I was admitted for a serious illness. Those vignettes allow me to share my perspective on a common theme. I avoid the problem of sounding like other speakers.
Create a Stand OUT Opening
Remember, sameness is boring. Although your main idea probably isn’t unique, your life experiences are. For your next presentation, write down a list of events that have impacted you – no matter how great or small they may have seemed at the time. Write down the lesson from those experiences. Ask how your audience can benefit from them.
When you take the time to craft a speech opening from this perspective, you’re well on your way to standing out from the crowd, and delivering a message that impacts long after you give your talk.
Sell More With Stories – Book 3: How To Gain Trust With Your “WHY” Story
Want to quickly get past the walls of distrust and skepticism of prospective clients?
Want to create a connection with others that lays the foundation for long-term mutually beneficial client relationships?
‘How to Gain Trust With Your “WHY” Story’ shows you how to do just that.
In this book, you’ll pick up the processes and tools to craft stories that separate you from other salespeople. You won’t spew facts and figures about you or your company. You’ll share stories that connect with others on a deep, emotional level. This type of story can shorten your sales cycle, because it builds trust faster, and encourages your clients to open up more to you.
To learn this Stand OUT story structure that can increase your sales while reducing the stress of the selling process, get your copy of book 3 in the ‘Sell More With Stories’ series: ‘How to Gain Trust With Your “WHY” Story.’ To get your Kindle copy, click here.