Change the Way You're Beginning Your Speech
and You'll Lessen Your Fear Level
As the world starts opening up again, there has been a lot of talk about beginnings—new beginnings, exciting beginnings, resolving to do things differently, deciding to live with intention, etc. This same newness, excitement and intention can be incorporated when we write and deliver our speeches. The opening of a speech needs to transmit the energy that makes listeners want to hear more.
Have you heard how most people open a speech? They say, “Good afternoon, how are you today?” or “Thank you for this opportunity to discuss..."
What’s wrong with that, you ask? Everything! It’s boring, it’s mundane and it’s totally unnecessary. Most importantly, there is nothing about those openings that will grab the audience’s attention. You have approximately 30 seconds for the audience to decide
if they’re with you or not, and if you don’t get them immediately, you’ll have to work much harder to win them back. Pleasantries are typically used out of habit and because everyone else does it. They are also used in an attempt to connect with the audience, even though it does the opposite.
When you begin your speeches in a way that engages the audience from the minute you open your mouth and makes them look forward to what you’ll say next, you’ll be amazed at what happens. You’ll be more confident because you have a solid opening and you don’t have to wonder if they are mentally wandering off. And you will set yourself apart from other speakers—you aren’t “most” speakers, you are special and they’ll enjoy listening to you!
Are you thinking, “Great, but how do I do that?” I thought you would never ask! There are several ways you can open that will have the audience sitting at attention, waiting for your remaining wisdom. You can jump right in with a question, a startling fact, a quote—Maya Angelou began by singing a couple lines of an old spiritual hymn. I don’t advise that method unless you have Maya’s voice, but you get the idea.
One of the easiest ways to begin is with a question:
“Do you know that according to the Book of Lists, public speaking is the number one fear people have?”
“Did you know that the odds of becoming an Olympic Gold Medalist are 1 in 22 million?”
With just a little thought after deciding what points you want to make in your presentation, an appropriate question to set the stage will appear.
Once you get comfortable with these new beginnings, you can do what master speakers do and go directly into a story…more to come about that in a future newsletter. In the meantime, use an interesting opening, leaving the pleasantries to the average speakers. It’s a change you can make immediately that will make a positive difference in how you’re perceived as a speaker.
President, The Zen Speaker
firstname.lastname@example.org | thezenspeaker.com
Conquering Your Fear Virtual Workshop
Is fear holding you back?
Do you find yourself remaining quiet when you want to speak up?
Are you avoiding situations that would put you at the head of the table or front of the room for fear of being judged, not being good enough or being exposed as an imposter (you know, that dreaded imposter syndrome!)?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you can put an end to that with this virtual workshop! If you’ll allow it, these 45 minutes will change your life. Transformation is possible when you open up to it!