Peter Urs Bender   Previous Page  |  Next Page

How To Begin Your Speech

Listeners today have very short attention spans. You must
capture and hold their interest immediately or it will be hard
for you to succeed. As on television, your presentation should
contain a series of interesting and provocative "sound bites",
one after the other.

Go From the Familiar to the Unfamiliar

You must first be accepted and trusted by your audience before
they will really listen to you. Begin with familiar ideas that you
know are already understood and accepted, then build on
them. Move from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
     In preparation, ask yourself, what do they already know
about your topic? Briefly talk about points of common under-
standing and summarize these before moving on to new
material.
     Here are some suggestions for an effective "take-off". The
sole objective of your opening is to capture and keep the
listeners’ attention, and have them wanting to hear more. Be
sure that your opening is specifically tailored for the group and
occasion. Create it just for them! Emphasize the listeners
rather than yourself.

Make Them Participants - Not Spectators

Have you ever noticed how many speakers tell us things
without explaining their significance? We are left thinking,
"What was that supposed to mean?".
     Speakers often fail to create a context which would enable
listeners to relate to their message. Therefore, always empha-
size "You" when communicating, rather than "I" and "Me".



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