There is an old tradition that says you should always enter your house with your right foot first. That first step, where things are fresh and undetermined, makes all the difference.
Much like that old saying, conveying a message has a lot to do with the beginning; you need to figure out how to open on the right foot in front of your audience in order to set the tone for the entire session. The beginning, in this case, is the first 30 seconds to 4 minutes on average, depending on the length of your session. This is your window of opportunity to create a powerful first impression on a new or even a familiar audience.
So how do you start off on the right foot and experience “good luck” (at least for the duration of the session)? Start with anything that’s interesting and memorable, relevant (related to the topic and your agenda), and fits the time frame. It could range from a personal story, joke, historical anecdote to a piece of data, a quote or a visual aid, like a video or a picture.
In order to make your opening—or “grace period,” as we call it at VAYOMAR—effective make sure you match it to your audience, your comfort zone, and personal style and the kind of image you wish to portray. For instance, an unconventional joke might not be the wisest choice in front of a conservative audience. If you can, find out who your audience is ahead of time and adjust accordingly.
Next time you begin your presentation, speech, or other form of message, make sure you start on the right foot and choose a strong opening. It could make all the difference.