If you’re like me, you won’t believe that anyone can be a better public speaker instantly. It takes repeated practice – often for years!
At least, I used to think that. But then I read a short post by Jon Acuff, and I saw that it is possible – in one sense – to be instantly better at speaking.
The instant that Jon’s talking about is the moment when you say your opening line. As he notes in this pithy quote:
“The beginning seals the deal
or ruins everything”
“You never get an audience
to join you in the middle
or the end of your speech”
Well, you might be able to get their attention back, but it’s far harder if your presentation’s opening line is weak. You know, like when a presenter uses their first words just to:
- Thank people.
- Talk about themselves.
- Or to waste people’s time in other ways.
So how should you open your speech? Jon suggests what he calls a “lean-in line” – an opening line that’s so intriguing, your audience will be straining to hear what you say next.
For instance, recently I opened a talk with these lines:
For more inspiration, you’ll find a great example of an opening line in Jon Acuff’s post, which is well worth your time to read. So I highly recommend reading Jon’s post, and taking his simple yet powerful advice for instantly being a better speaker:
Start your talk with a lean-in line.
Over to you
Also check out
- Posts in the Secrets of star presenters series
- Awesome opening lines: 20+ more examples for your speeches, from Patricia Fripp (Certified Speaking Professional)
- 3×7 tips to rivet people when you present (FiRST framework – part 1: Focus attention)
- How to open a high-stakes PowerPoint presentation instantly – for a key client, sales prospect, top management, investor pitch, or other VIPs
- Minimise “blur” (FiRST framework – part 1m)
- Stop Q&A hypnosis! (A unique way to handle questions during your talk)
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