In a previous post I showed how an illustration can be an effective way to begin a speech but:
Of course, using an illustration is not the only effective way to start a speech. A question which causes an audience to think will get attention.
For example, a student speaker started by asking this question, “Do you know how long it takes a fly to crawl from one end of a seven inch banana to the other?”
This was a simple question but it caused listeners to think and wonder. After asking the question the speaker paused for a few moments, giving listeners time to think. Then he answered his own question, “It takes a fly exactly thirty-six seconds to crawl from one end of a banana to the other, because I watched one do it last week in the L, and L Cafe.”
This was the beginning of a very interesting and helpful talk about keeping food clean.
A housewife started a speech called “How to Stretch the Kitchen Dollar,” by pushing a handful of coins from a table into a metal wastebasket and asking at the same time, “Is this hap¬pening in your kitchen?”
The audience willingly watched and listened. In addition to asking a thought stimulating question this speaker used a visual aid which usually gets undivided attention.
This was an interesting beginning, whereas a dull, trite way to start a speech on saving money in the kitchen could be as follows: “Every day, everywhere, people are wasting money in their kitchens. Considering the high cost of living, this, of course, makes staying on a budget very difficult. But I suppose this is not a new trend. According to psychologists, being careless may be a natural trait of humanity, although there are probably different opinions in this respect.” And so on.
This latter method merely presents general opinions. The ideas are not specific. Nothing happens. This approach is somewhat like the .one a college student actually made when he attempted to answer an examination question: “It is, well, on the other hand it could be, but perhaps usually in most cases, it is strictly an enigma.” What an indirect way to say, “I don’t know.”
Have you ever used a question to start your presentation or a speech? How did you get on? Did it make the audience think?