Make your first sentences interesting

I had a coaching today with a manager and I am going to share an example with you how you can attract the attention of the audience…I asked the participant to present to me the first part of his presentation, something like the first 3 minutes. Meanwhile I carefully listened to his first sentences because these will (or will not) attract the attention. He started as so many presenters do saying ‘Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to…So, in the next overview I will present to you…’ For me, this is not the most attractive way to open a presentation. I advice you to make it interesting from the very first minute, from your very first sentence, and to avoid any clicés. How can you do that ? Tell a story ! Everyone is interested in listening to stories. Of course you won’t tell just whatever, there has to be a relationship to your topic. The advice I gave to my participant was to start with a story, or a quote or an article in a newspaper, it can be anything…The trick is of course that you have to link it. For some stories the link is obvious. But when you come to think of it, you can actually link nearly everything because if you start with a story (a memory from your childhood for example) it might seem difficult at first sight to link that to your topic. However, a nice way of linking is saying what you learned from that experience, and why you told that story. Automatically you will be able to switch to your subject. I must say that after this theory, he was not eager to tell a story and felt reluctant to put it into practise. Now what did he make of it ?…

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Who saw the movie ‘Back to the future’ (he raised his hand to set the example…). I see that quite some people saw that movie. Now, one of the main characters, Michael J. Fox, went back to the fifties in order to change his future. Now I’m not going to take you back as long as the fifties. My objective with this presentation is to take you back to 2007 to see what we have experienced and what we have learned. And above all how we can implement that next year.  

And the great part was that he absolutely loved it. It sounded good and it felt good. I thought he did a great job and he was convinced that this could work…

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2 thoughts on “Make your first sentences interesting

  1. It’s simple. Storytelling is broken online. We’ve fixed it.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    Heekya is the Wikpedia of Stories, a social storytelling platform that is changing the way consumers create, share, and discover stories. Free. Fun. Easy. 60 seconds. See it here: http://heekya.com/preview.php
    What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) drag and drop story editor. Import all media (photo, video, text, and audio) from third party services (Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc.)
    Users grab and embed Heekya story widget across social networks (Facebook, MySpace, et. al) blogs (wordpress, blogger, twitter) personal websites and via e-mail and instant message.
    Ability to re-mix and mashup other stories, retelling them from a consumers own vantage point, that will keep user engagement levels high and attract more traffic virally, as people share and re-share stories.

    Storytelling is at the core of human existence. We’re building Heekya to unlock powerful stories of people all over the world and empower them to share their story with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

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