Capture Attention with a More Powerful Open

How often do you sit in a meeting, or on a conference call, or listen to a presentation, and feel disengaged within the first two to three minutes? Yep… me too.

It usually takes speakers forever to simply get to the point, and find ways to engage the audience. And by the time they do, it usually is too late for many of us in the audience. We have already checked out.

So how do we make sure this does not happen to us, when we are leading the discussion? How do we open in a more powerful way, so we get our audience engaged and listening right from the start?

Try this… instead of the slow, steady build up to the big conclusion, treat the open as if you have two minutes to have the entire meeting. If you only had two minutes in front of your audience what would you say? Would you waste it on reading the audience the agenda, which is the way most people open their presentation? No… if you only had two minutes, you probably would not waste it on the agenda. You would probably provide a short executive summary. What are we talking about? Why is it important? What are you recommending? What are the benefits of the recommendation? What are you asking for? When do the next steps begin?

If you only had two minutes, you would probably want to spend that limited, precious time addressing questions like the ones above. If you only had two minutes, you wouldn’t want to waste any of it on an agenda, or a slow steady build up.

So the point here today is that you should treat your open as if you have a maximum of two minutes to get your macro message out. Focus on that. Give your audience an executive summary. Tell them the conclusion up front.

And then, if necessary, you can descend into the detail. But if you open in a powerful way, the audience will be more engaged, the detail will make more sense, you will have a better meeting, and you will be much more likely to get the outcome that you want.

And, if this sounds like overly simple, obvious advice, ask yourself this? How often do you actually witness a powerful open that grabs you right from the start? I thought so. So perhaps this approach is not as obvious as you might think it is.

Good luck.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Brett Slater

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.