How do you capture, draw in and even mesmerize a group in the first two minutes of your speech? This goes beyond quotes, interesting statistics or stories. Each of these strategies will create interest, but only if they are part of a well designed opening. What I have found is that a great opening takes a maximum of two minutes and covers five very specific areas:
1. Attention. Use silence, look around the room and smile to draw people in.
2. Information. Tell them up front what the talk will be about, instead of revealing your purpose somewhere along the way. Suspense is excellent for Hollywood movies. It falls flat with a presentation.
3. Expectation. Explain how they can apply the information afterward. This is the distinction between potential (knowing how you might use the information somewhere in the future) and performance (knowing how you can use the information immediately).
4. Engagement. Tell them how the information is important to them. It creates the distinction between a general talk and something of immediate interest to each audience member. It answers the most important question: What’s in it for me?
5. Involvement. Involve them as a player, not a spectator. The best openings invite people to participate immediately by, for example, asking them to raise their hands to answer questions or offer ideas.
Use these 5 elements in your next meeting/speech/workshop and notice how smoothly you can build on this excellent start.