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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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Two Common Storytelling Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

During our presentation training workshops, we always emphasize the importance of narrative.

Stories, anecdotes, case studies, and analogies are stickier than abstract concepts—particularly for audiences that lack a depth of knowledge in your topic—and serve as easy memory hooks that draw audiences to your message.

Most of our trainees buy into the concept of using narrative during their talks—but they often make two mistakes that undercut its power. In this post, I’ll help you correct both mistakes.

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How To Be (And Why You Should Be) Skeptical Of Your Facts

Facts are funny things. Sometimes, we interpret them in a way that seems so obvious to us that we don’t even consider how someone could possibly view them differently.

That’s why it’s a good idea to go through the facts in our presentations, try to view them as a skeptical audience member might, and address any unhelpful interpretations before they take hold.

This post will show you where one recent speaker went wrong.

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The “Yes, And…” Approach To Managing Audience Questions

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey writes:

“The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures,” now we’re getting somewhere.”

The “Yes, and…” approach applies not only to comedy, but to many of the questions you’ll field as a public speaker.

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Why Three Is The Magic Number For Interviews And Speeches

During our media training workshops, we typically recommend that people develop three main messages. During our presentation training workshops, we often suggest that speakers focus on one main theme supported by three supporting ideas.

Several trainees have asked: “Why three?”

There’s not a perfect answer to that question. But there’s a pretty good one.

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How To Select A Presentation Training Firm

Lawyers, accountants, financial planners, and many other professionals are required to pass a test and receive a license before practicing their chosen careers.

No such requirements exist for presentation trainers—and although there are many terrific ones out there, the lack of third-party licensure can make it difficult for potential clients to separate the great coaches from the not-so-great ones.

This post, which contains nine key questions to ask, will help you select a qualified presentation training firm that fits your needs.

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Show, Don’t Tell: Why It’s Best To Undersell | Public Speaking Tip

I recently worked with a speaker who began his talk by saying: “I have the coolest job in the world.”

His opening made me bristle. There was something about the line that felt both accusatory (my job is better than yours) and subjective (yes, your job sounds cool, but it’s not for me).

The speaker was making a mistake I see often in our workshops: he was telling, not showing. In this post, you’ll see two additional times speakers fall into that trap.

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How Delta Airlines Got Passengers To Watch The Safety Video

Imagine you’re an airline communications executive facing a vexing problem: How can we get our passengers to pay attention to our pre-flight safety demonstration?

It’s a critical question that can mean the difference between life and death—but you know that many of your passengers are far too busy staring at their phones or reading books to look up.

Some airlines, recognizing that problem, have gotten creative with their safety demonstrations. On one recent Delta flight, they played this creative video.

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