She was resisting my coaching.
“What will you accomplish with that?” I asked.
“I’ll build rapport with the audience and let them know I appreciate them.”
I paused…and paused some more.
“You have 18-minutes to deliver your TED Talk. You’ll waste precious seconds with that opening. You risk losing your listeners because you’ve said nothing interesting to them. If you really appreciate them, provide value with your first words.”
She wanted to indulge in the most common presentation mistake there is:
Delivering a boring opening.
Break the pattern. Stop using typical speaker openings. They’re stale, uninspiring, and cliché.
5 Ways to Loose Your Audience in Under a Minute
- “Good morning…” (boring and a significant lack of creativity)
- “Let me tell you a little about me/my company…” (they don’t care and it’s rarely a “little”)
- “It’s an honor to be here…” (If that’s true then say something more interesting)
- “Today I’m going to talk to you about…” (Instead of telling them what you’re going to talk about, go ahead and talk about it— and only if it’s important to them)
- “Have you heard the one about…?” (Jokes are risky and often backfire. Use humor by telling a funny story that “pokes” fun at you)
Ensure that your audience will join you on your presentation journey. Have the courage and the skill to be memorable from the moment you open your mouth:
- Jump into the action of a story that peaks their curiosity
- Ask an intriguing question (then shut up and actually listen)
- Offer a sincere compliment (based on facts not flattery)
Walk away from the crowded corner of sameness. How can you set yourself apart? Start by being engaging.
Watch TEDx Greensboro’s 2016 Speaker line-up to see how it’s done.