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How to Start a Speech using a Personal Story

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How to Start a Speech using a Personal Story

“First impressions are forever; you never get a second chance to create a good first impression.”

This is doubly true when talking about how to start a speech. You must focus everything on making a positive first impression on your audience members. You have 10 seconds.

The beginning of your speech is the most important: If you don’t engage your audience in the first 10 seconds of your speech then you have signalled that the next few minutes are for them to do their email, to think about the weekend, to daydream.

First, the 3 golden rules of how not to start…

  1. Your name. Only your mum cares.
  2. An explanation of what you are going to tell them. They don’t care yet. You have to get them to care first.
  3. An excuse about your lack of preparation/experience/relevance/knowledge. You should not accept the opportunity if you are not going to do the work to be ready.

I’ve been teaching public speaking and leadership for over 12 years at one of the world’s top MBA schools, IESE Business School. I’ve taught over 25,000 leaders. This 8 minute video is my advice on how to engage the audience from the start…

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Conor Neill

Professor of Leadership, President Vistage Spain

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