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The Opener


Techniques Public speaking > Parts of the Presentation > The Opener

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



The 'opener' in a presentation is a deliberate and short piece that grabs the attention of the audience by various means.

A classic method gaining attention is to shock the audience by using some form of controversial statement. You can also use physiological shock by using a bright flash or sudden loud sound You can also evoke emotion by threatening or offering satisfaction of basic needs and other motivations.

When attention is gained, the rest of the opener leads the audience into the main body of the presentation.

Specific openers include:


LOOK OUT!!! It's what we have to do these days, when terror stalks the streets and glares at you from the ever-present media. So what can you do? Do you just duck when there's a loud noise or should you be properly prepared? Basic preparation is not difficult as I will spend the next 30 minutes showing you. In fact I hope you will take the easy steps I will show you and then rest easy in the sound knowledge you are much safer than most other people in this great city of ours.


Managing attention is a basic principle and gaining it has to the first step before people will listen to you, and an easy way of doing this is with surprise, which itself may be created with some form of contrast.

A critical trick with the opener is not just to grab their attention crudely and then start a mild presentation, but to use the energy created with a powerful link in into the main body of your presentation.

It is important to connect with your audience early in the presentation, forming a bond with them. The opener is an ideal place in which to hook in your audience and 'glue' them to you for the rest of the session.

See also

Attention principle, Contrast principle, Surprise principle


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