Starting your talk with a startling statistic – 3 examples [Video]

Man with startled expressionYou’ve likely heard it said that opening your talk with a startling statistic helps you grab people’s attention.

But what exactly does that technique look and sound like?

In this post, you’ll see 3 clear examples on video, and I’ll discuss key takeaways from each. So you’ll come away with solid tips you can use in your own talks.

Ultimately, I hope these examples inspire you to use some startling statistics yourself.

Here’s what you’ll find in this post – you can click any of these links to skip ahead:
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Secret #5 of star presenters: @TEDchris on persuading your audience [Video]

Here’s a brilliant metaphor (plus advice) for giving a talk. It comes from Chris Anderson (curator of TED), speaking recently at TED Global in the UK.

Take people on a mental journey step-by-step

In setting up his metaphor, he says that when you speak, your main task is like cloning your talk’s core message into your listeners’ heads. So to do that, he asserts that because of how the brain works, you need to take people on a mental journey step-by-step from their current state to one where they’ve accepted your message.

You might already know the metaphor of treating your talk as a journey. For me though, the best part of Chris’s version comes next, when he asks rhetorically:

What are the 2 things you need to do to persuade people to
come with you on a journey?

And he answers with this fantastic quote:
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