The Two Most Important Sentences
by Chuck Reaves
The two most important sentences in any presentation are the first one and the last one.
Know how you will open and know how you will close your next presentation. In the opening paragraph it appeared the speaker sauntered out onto the stage in complete control. There are two critical elements at work here: the introduction and the opening sentence. Professional speakers control their introductions. They usually provide a written introduction and request that it be read as written in most situations. The reason is that it is difficult to overcome a lousy introduction.
Knowing what the opening line is going to be gives the speaker confidence. After all, the audience is sizing up the speaker and the speaker is sizing up the audience. It helps tremendously when the speaker has their opening on "auto pilot" and can begin their presentation immediately.
Since the opening sentence sets the tone for the entire presentation, what will you use? It depends on the purpose of the presentation. It is generally better to use an opening that has the same feel as the message. Upbeat messages can use an upbeat opening. Serious messages require a serious opening. Avoid an opening like, "Before we talk about the layoffs that are coming and our disappointing results for last quarter, let me tell you one I heard the other day. A priest and a rabbi go into..."
There are four basic openings, so choose the one that is most appropriate for each presentation.
Your presentation needs to have a logical flow, one that the people in the audience can follow. You can actually explain this up front. One of the oldest adages in the speaking profession is:
Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.
This process works well in helping the people in the audience remember your message. There are several effective ways of accomplishing this. One is to have a certain number of points and then tell the audience that you will be covering these five points. Visual aids can help here. You may also want to use acronyms: "What is power? Let's take the letters in the word "POWER" and let each letter serve as a memory jogger. The "P" represents..."
Have a wrap up, tell them what you told them. Do a quick review of the important points. [Here's an inside secret you may not know: professional speakers use this to make sure they didn't miss anything the first time through!]
Anecdotes, Jokes, Examples
Punctuating a presentation with stories and humor can not only emphasize important points, it can also make the time seem to go by faster. We live in a culture that likes to be entertained. Use these tools to keep the message flowing. You can also use them to give the people in the audience a moment to mentally relax. After a long series of complex statements or detailed information, interject a tension breaker.
[Here's an inside secret you may not know: Professional speakers have numerous stories and jokes they can use. They know the length of each one and will use them to insure that the presentation fits the time allotted.]
Nail it! Close your presentation with purpose. Even if you close your presentation with a question and answer session, you will still need a closing sentence or statement. There are several ways to close a presentation effectively:
Wrap Up For a basic, internal presentation, this is usually sufficient. Restate the key points and offer to answer questions later.
Humorous A quick, humorous story can put a light touch on a presentation. It will leave the people smiling and feeling good.
Question When you want people to continue thinking about what you have said, close with a question. An example would be, "Now that you know the situation, now that you understand the challenge, what will you do this week to make the goal happen?"
Anecdote Close with a story that will inspire the people in the audience or challenge them. The story does not necessarily have to relate to the topic but it must be relevant to the people. It is a good way to make a second major message in your presentation.
[Here's an inside secret you may not know: Professional speakers have a number of stories they use for different occasions. They know the length of each one and the expected reaction. Based on what is happening during their presentation, they may use any one of a number of stories to close their presentation. If the audience has been unreceptive, they can turn it around with the right story. If the meeting was running late and they have to cut their message short, they can change their closing story, finish right on time and go out in a blaze of glory.]
How well did you do? What will you do differently next time? The best way to find out is to audio tape or video tape your presentation. Whatever you see that you do not like, you will change. Whatever you see that you did like, you will do it next time and you will do it more confidently. Of course, it always helps to solicit the opinions of others who you trust. Just remember that every speaker is different and every member of the audience is different. What one person likes another may not, so solicit many opinions.
Of course, there are still times when you need a professional speaker...
Sometimes only a professional speaker can accomplish your objectives. Some messages are best delivered by someone from the outside. Your people often need new perspectives and new ideas. When considering using a professional speaker, look for these things:
|© Copyright @ 2004 Keynote Resource Inc. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for linking to web pages within Keynote Resource
Keynote Resource speakers bureau can help you find the ideal keynote speakers for your next event. We represent inspirational speakers, motivational speakers, corporate entertainment and more.
Keynote Resource speakers bureau will find the perfect keynote speaker for your upcoming event, whether you are looking for inspirational speakers with a message, motivational speakers to set the tone of your conference or a facilitator for your annual retreat.
Keynote Resource speakers bureau works closely with executives, meeting planners and training directors to create events that result in highly productive learning or are just plain fun. We can identify business speakers, inspirational speakers or motivational speakers that are well suited to your event, send you videos and press kits to help you with your speaker selection and we’ll work closely with the keynote speakers you hire to ensure they customize their presentations to meet the specific needs of your audience.
We have speakers in all areas including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
We can book speakers for you worldwide, in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil and The Bahamas. Click Here to Search A Speaker
Speaker fees are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Fees may vary based on the speaker’s availability, supply and demand, program length and location of the event.
Each fee range listed on this website is intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual price quote may be above or below the fee range stated. For the most current fee, please contact your representative directly.