A friend of mine, a minister, used to love starting his presentations with: “There are no Christians anymore (pause, pause, pause) according to The Christian Science Monitor. (pause) I am here to disprove that.” Mort Utley was his name and if he were still alive, I’m certain he’d still be starting with the most outrageous statement he could make.
Why? Because it wakes people up. Breaks pre-occupation. Stimulates. Entices. Oh, and it isn’t the same boring beginning that every other presenter uses.
Which brings us to your next presentation. What will you say to kick off your message in a way that helps your listeners -your staff, exec team, customers, students, co-workers – want to listen?
Try starting with the absolute opposite of what your audience is expecting.
Next, tell them why you said that (in Mort’s case, because I’ll disprove that). In your case it could be, because that’s what could happen if we don’t/do….
Back up your words. Dig deep and think of a story that proves your point. Don’t rely on facts or figures to persuade. Consider emailing the facts after the presentation. Realize your job is to persuade, influence and motivate and that happens best and most when people are emotionally connected.
Tell them what to do next. Before that though, get their attention again (just in case) and say something like: And, that’s it, except for this… Announce you’re saying something they’ll want to remember…then tell them what it is, exactly, you’d like to remember when you finish your presentation.
Oh, and if you can tie it back to your outrageous statement at the beginning, they’ll love ya for it.