Speak Powerfully and Change Your Life!
“We would like you to be one of the speakers!” said the voice over the phone a month ago, and he explained to me about the event I was being called to speak at.
“Sure,” I said after I heard what the occasion was, “and may I ask who the other speakers are?”
“Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, former West Bengal Governor Gopalakrishna Gandhi, who is also Gandhiji’s grandson, and tennis legend Vijay Amritraj!”
“Whoa! Whoa!” I whispered, as I put down the phone and wondered what my speech would be, then realized with such huge personalities sharing the dais with me, I needed to not just work on my talk but work on my opening. And that’s exactly what I worked on. Not one, but three openings, why?
The opening of a talk, like the opening of a lawyer’s argument, makes the judge or jury either listen to you or tune off. Once your audience has switched off, it’s very difficult to get them back to giving you an ear, try as you may, and even if you do succeed by using impactful content, they’ve lost the beginning of your talk which could have carried some important points.
Why have three openings? It’s like an opening batsman on whom very often the whole innings rests; deciding to slog from the first ball onwards or slowly build a respectable foundation; it all depends on who the bowler is that he is going to face, and also the pitch. Only when he goes in to bat will he know what type of bowling he is going to face.
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Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist with an estimated readership of 6 million. He also conducts a short-term writer’s course. Contact him at email@example.com for more details.