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Sensory Opener

 

Techniques Public speaking > Parts of the Presentation > Sensory Opener

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

The 'Sensory Opener' opens a presentation with something that stimulate the senses.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to say 'Hello' or some other greeting in a loud voice. Wearing bright clothing or showing a colorful picture stimulates visual senses.

You can also do a 'virtual' sensory opener by stimulating memories and imagination, for example by reminding people of experiences when the senses were overwhelmed.

When attention is gained, then you can quickly move on to what you want to say, preferably linking the sensory experience with your subject.

Example

HELLO EVERYONE!! And thank you for having me here today. Look at this picture of bees and imagine them all buzzing around the auditorium. Imagine fragrant flowers growing at your feet. One day this will all be naked land again I want to talk about how we can ensure it becomes beautiful, not an acrid wasteland.

Discussion

Despite being civilized, from an evolutionary perspective we are not that long out of the trees and basic senses still have a powerful effect on us. Sensory information easily grabs our attention and provides a useful method for getting people engaged.

One thing that our developed brains are good at is recalling not just visual memories but full-sensory experiences (we are great at imagining them too), which allows a speaker to trigger the senses with just a story (although pictures can be very helpful too). 

See also

Sensing the world around us

 

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