All of us have conversations all day long, but when we have an important piece of information to convey rather than just diving in like with any other conversation, it’s better to plan ahead.
The importance of the beginning
Whether speaking to a group or an individual, how you start is of utmost importance because it’s the first impression of that conversation. Those first few seconds are going to set the tone of what follows. They’re going to be a huge determinant of whether the person or persons you’re speaking to are going to pay attention and care about what you’re about to say or whether they’re going to mentally check out.
Before you start speaking you should know where you want to start and where you want to end. By the time you’re into the crux of what you want to say, you want your listeners leaning forward mentally, and emotionally prepared to take it in.
There are several ways for you to grab the audience or person you’re speaking to.
Well thought out compliments
A sincere, well thought out compliment shows them that you’ve been paying attention to them and they will reciprocate by paying attention back to you.
Attention grabbing facts
Get the most important or riveting fact about what you’re going to say out right away. Capture their attention. We broke sales records last month and I know exactly how we can do it again this month.
If there’s recently been any news related to what you’re about to say, have a tangible, physical copy of it there with you, so you can show it to the person, let them hold it in their hands or pass it amongst themselves as tangible proof of what you’re saying.
A smiling face
Pay attention to what your face is doing. Some people naturally smile all the time, others don’t. It doesn’t mean the smiling person is always happy and the more neutral faced person only rarely feels enthusiastic about anything, it’s simply where their face naturally falls. If you want to engage the person or people you’re speaking to, make a conscious effort to smile. Welcome them into your space.
You already know what you want to say. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on the person or people in front of you. Look confident, build up positive expectations, take charge while staying authentic and humble.
Find common ground
Find commonalities between you and the ones you’re speaking to. Personal or professional, it doesn’t matter. These commonalities are a bridge to close the distance between you and them, while also serving as a conduit into the main topic of discussion you’re about to go into.