Opening a Curtain

Five (More) Great Ways To Open A Presentation

Since releasing 101 Ways to Open a Speech last July, I’ve published 10 of the book’s opens for free on the blog, along with its full introduction.

For this post, I revisited the 91 opens that I’ve never published here before and selected five of my favorites to share with you.

In this post, you’ll learn how to earn the audience’s attention through the non-expert quote, the unexpected definition, the use of rapid-fire statistics, and more. Here’s to better speech openings that grab your audience’s attention from the start and lead to better results!

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How To Open A Speech #29: The Surprising Statistic Open

When people hear the term statistics, they generally think in terms of numbers and data. But most raw numbers don’t stick unless they’re set within a more meaningful context.

In this excerpt from my new book, “101 Ways to Open a Speech,” you’ll learn a better way to use numbers and persuade your audiences.

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How To Open A Speech #90: The Audio Clip Open

In his autobiography An American Life, Ronald Reagan described the feelings many people in his generation shared about radio:

“Radio was magic. It was theater of the mind. It forced you to use your imagination. You’d sit in your living room and be transported to glamorous locales around the world.”

TV, many people later complained, eliminated the need for audience members to engage more actively by envisioning the events being described for themselves. That, they’d say, stripped imagination from the equation. Here’s how you can use the power of audio to your advantage.

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How To Open A Speech #78: The Commitment Open

Let’s say you’re a legislator aiming to increase support for foreign aid. Your research shows that the public vastly overestimates the percentage of the budget that is spent on such purposes, and their incorrect perception fuels their opposition.

You could begin by rattling off statistics, citing data that show the difference between the actual percentage of the budget spent on aid versus what people think that percentage is.

But there’s a better way to persuade your audience.

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How To Open A Speech #35: The Oddball Fact Open

In this excerpt from my new book, “101 Ways to Open a Speech,” you’ll learn a technique that allows you to demonstrate your creativity.

Begin by entering the term “strange facts” into Google. You’ll come up with millions of webpages that feature the unusual, the odd, and the downright bizarre.

To write this post, I did exactly that. And to show you how easy it is to work an oddball fact into the opening of your presentations, here are two I encountered (including one about world record-setting twins) in an article on the first link that came up.

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Introduction To My New Book: “101 Ways To Open A Speech”

(August 5, 2015) Big news: My wife and I are celebrating the birth of our second child! I’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off to help our family adjust to life with two kids. The blog will be back on Monday, August 24.

In the meantime, I’m pleased to announce another (smaller) new arrival. My new book, “101 Ways to Open a Speech,” is now available worldwide for the Kindle. In this post, you’ll be able to read the full five-page introduction to the book.

Thanks for reading, and see you back here soon!

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How To Open A Speech #21: The List Open

In most cases, beginning a presentation by listing many items would bore your audience from the start. But there’s a way to use “lists” to take your audience by surprise and capture their attention quickly.

In this excerpt from “101 Ways to Open a Speech,” you’ll see an example of how using a list (in this case, about a restaurant graveyard) can grab your audience from word one.

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Announcing My New Book: “101 Ways to Open a Speech”

I’m delighted to announce that my second book, 101 Ways to Open a Speech, was released today and is now available on Amazon!

101 Ways to Open a Speech introduces you to a broad range of speech starters, using dozens of real-life examples and original suggestions. You will find opens intended to surprise, persuade, motivate, engage, and amuse your audiences. Some tell a story, others help frame your topic, and a few rely on modern technology.

I wrote the book with the hope that it would become an indispensable desktop reference for everyone who ever presents to any audience.

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