Pull The Trigger

Fishing hook icon, silhouette on white background

Most openings to business presentations are rote, dull, and pro forma. However, when done well, an opening serves three critical functions: 1. They create a hook so the audience pays attention. 2. They set the tone and frame, especially when using a strong image or analogy, and 3. When a speaker shares their perspective or experience, this gives the audience a window into their thinking, facilitating a strong connection.

When formulating your next open, first consider the message you would like to convey. Then connect a current event to your topic. Or, describe a setback and what you learned from it. Or, use a sport you played and how one event or coaching made a difference. Your entire life is material, so examine moments of stress, success, or inspiration.

The best openings are always linked to your presentation. Be careful not to make your initial description more colorful than your talk. But do use similar words or concepts in both your opening trigger and the topic of your presentation, e.g. "As a catcher on my baseball team, I read the batter and gave the pitcher signals of which ball to throw... Now as a financial advisor, I scan the field and give my clients advice on which fund is the most likely to get a hit or strike out, and how to play it." When you employ novel and descriptive openings, you capture the attention of your audience. Pull the trigger.

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