Sylvie Verleye | Make your first sentence interesting
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Make your first sentence interesting

Make your first sentence interesting

I had a coaching today with a manager and I am going to share an example with you how you can attract the attention of the audience…I asked the participant to present to me the first part of his presentation, something like the first 3 minutes. Meanwhile I carefully listened to his first sentences because these will (or will not) attract the attention. He started as so many presenters do saying ‘Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to…So, in the next overview I will present to you…’ For me, this is not the most attractive way to open a presentation. I advise you to make it interesting from the very first minute, from your very first sentence, and to avoid any clicés. How can you do that? Tell a story! Everyone is interested in listening to stories. Of course you won’t tell just whatever story, there has to be a relationship to your topic. The advice I gave to my participant was to start with a story, or a quote or an article in a newspaper, it can be anything…The trick is of course that you have to link it. Now what did he make of it ?…

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Who saw the movie ‘Back to the future’ (he raised his hand to set the example…). I see that quite some people saw that movie. Now, one of the main characters, Michael J. Fox, went back to the fifties in order to change his future. Now I’m not going to take you back as long as the fifties. My objective with this presentation is to take you back to 2007 to see what we have experienced and what we have learned. And above all how we can implement that next year.  

You don’t have to start with something personal as he did. In fact, I often prefer in a business context that you start with a business story. What is a business story? Any professional memory you have. It can be talk, a meeting, a research…. And the great thing about this coaching was that at first he was somewhat reluctant but in the end he absolutely loved it. It sounded good and it felt good. I thought he did a great job and he was convinced that this could work…

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