“Hello, my name is…, I work for…, “We are here today to talk about…”
These are the ultimate opening lines that will invite your listeners to check out of their technical gadgets and check into what you’re saying. Avoid being the person who opens their meetings, presentations, sales calls and virtual conversations like 95 percent of boring conversations open.
To grab and keep your listeners’ attention from the second you begin to speak, apply these 5 bulletproof steps.
1. Avoid Filler Phrases. Opening your conversations with the filler phrase, “We are here today to talk about…” not only invites your listeners to shut down but also diminishes your credibility. Instead, open with a compelling story, analogy, quote, reference, question or humor. We refer to these openers as S.P.A.R.K.’s.™ Make sure the point of your S.P.A.R.K.™ relates to your topic. Your S.P.A.R.K.™ should take no longer than 45 minutes to communicate and drive home your point.
2. 30 Seconds or Less. Following your S.P.A.R.K.,™ clearly state your opinion on your subject, what you want them to do during the meeting and the value they receive.
3. Listener Involvement. Get your listeners involved by asking an open-ended question or asking them to share their experience with your topic. Asking questions is a powerful way to gain greater insight – know what is important to your listeners – allowing you to adapt your message on the fly to meet their expectations. Listener involvement may also be accomplished through any of the elements of a S.P.A.R.K.™
4. Connect. The second you begin to speak, connect with one person for a full sentence or thought. Avoid scanning your listeners with your eyes and/or talking to your notes, handouts or PowerPoint deck. Your listeners deserve to know that you value their time and you are 100 percent present.
5. Get to the Point! During day-to-day conversations, practice being clear, concise and getting to the point. The #1 frustration for your listeners is when you waste their time. When you successfully communicate your points in less time, your message has more impact and influence. Isn’t that the purpose or every conversation?
Drop me a note sharing the steps you took this week to grab and keep your listeners’ attention. Tag me on my Facebook page.