The first 30-60 seconds is crucial when you’re talking on stage. You have to do and be everything at once. You have to be believable, credible, enjoyable, relatable and more! People nowadays are said to have shorter attention span than ever because of technology so imagine having to keep up with that as a keynote speaker.
Still, it doesn’t mean that making an impact early in your talk is impossible. Get your audience hooked right away! Remember, the whole focus is on them and not on you or your credentials at this moment in your speech, so put yourself in their shoes.
Here are 5 different ways to have an attention-grabbing intro for your speech:
1. Share a brief story.
It could be related to your topic or it could be something that’s simply random and unusual or even absurd just to break the ice. It can be a sad story that you can turn into a success story at the end of your talk.
2. Include humor.
Everybody loves a hearty laugh especially if they have been sitting there at the conference hall, all afternoon waiting for your turn to speak. Or especially when you’re talking right before huge speakers like Tony Robbins or Robert Kiyosaki. The excitement has to keep building up! I should know, I’ve spoken before them on several conferences!
Pro tip: If you’re going to tell a joke, don’t say you’re telling a joke. Just go straight with it.
3. Open with three questions.
You can ask controversial questions or relatable ones. You can also ask questions that will be answered by your presentation when you move along later.
For example, I usually ask my audience at the Publish a Book and Grow Rich Bootcamp these:
Have you ever wanted to write a book?
Do you feel like marketing is so much tougher in this day and age?
Have you ever wished to see your face in a book?
4. State compelling statistics.
Did you know that Facebook’s population is 6.5 times greater than the USA’s entire population? You can use this introduction especially when you’re talking about social media strategies or digital marketing. Or find any other startling facts that you know your audience is affected by.
5. Bring an object or do a demonstration.
Body language is also important. Whenever you stammer or shake, people can already start judging you. So, hide the chills with a big act.
Sing if you will! Dance or run. Or ride a big bike to the stage! It’s not that outrageous. I’ve done this and it works!
Do practice. Practice on your own and practice with an audience. You can start doing webinars, live videos, and more.
Do prepare. Craft your talk well. Research or join speaking groups. You can sign up for relevant courses if you must but you will have to focus on getting your message out there, provide solutions and not just information.
Do show confidence. Fake it ‘til you make it as they say. You don’t need to be the best, but believe you are and show them you are until you really become one. Experience will be the best teacher and practice will make you better each time.
Do expect there may be technical problems. So don’t panic.
Do strategize. Craft your talk in a way that addresses your audience’s needs – whether expressed or not – and provide a solution in the end. As such, know their profile beforehand.