Public Speaking – Get the Audience’s Attention Immediately

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In public speaking and presenting to groups many speakers open their speech with tired starters like ”Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking…” or “We had a pleasant trip heer this evening” etc, etc,

1. Open with a human interest story and get something going at once. People love stories. Keep them brief. The audience normally want a quick win at the beginning of the speech. The primary source of your material should be your own life. The next best source is the daily newspapers and magazines. Look for the stories that are human interest stories that are inside the paper rather than headline news. The stories need to be intersting and not too familiar with to everyone. When telling a humorous story it is a good idea to have the punchline memorized as you don’t want to stumble and not give the audience a chance to laugh. 

2. Ask a question. The question that stimulate the audience to think will get their attention. Something like ” Do you know how long it takes a house fly to walk along a banana? This unusual question was used to start a talk on food hygiene. The question must not be too complex for the  the audience or you will lose them. Also the audience’s attention will not be gained by question that does not ask them to think too much e.g. What day of the week is it? It is too easy and commonplace.

3. Open with a startling or unusual statement.  A statement such as “No one will talk about it for publication but…” has great ear appeal. The audience will want to know what comes next.

Openings to a speech are very important as they can set the tone for the rest of the speech. To increase effectiveness in public speaking will start their speeches to get the audience’s attention. However, you do want favorable attention. Throwing rotten eggs at the audience into the audience will get their attention but it won’t be very favorable.

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