Opening – Body – Close
There are three parts to a good presentation. Guess which part bad speakers focus on? The Body. Guess which parts are the most important? The Opening and the Close.
Why are the opening and the close of your speech so important?
The opening is important because this is the first impression you make on your audience. This is your opportunity to grab their attention and establish rapport. Your credibility was established in your introduction (if it was done well).
The close is important to your speech because it is the last image and words they have of you. Thus it is what they are most likely to remember about you.
Picture this opening that I painfully witnessed. The speaker received a boisterous welcome thanks to the enthusiasm of the MC. When the speaker arrived on stage he needed to take the microphone from the MC. They obviously had not talked about nor rehearsed this part. The microphone was a headset. The speaker was clearly unfamiliar and uncomfortable with this type of microphone. As the speaker struggled to get the microphone on he complained that he did not like this and called out to the audience, “can everybody hear me?” He appeared unhappy that the reply was in the negative.
As the speaker struggled with the wire and his jacket, someone called out, “Take it off.” So he removed his jacket while fighting with the wire.
Finally he returned to center stage and mumbled “I wish I could start over again.”
It was a lousy opening to his speech - unprofessional, uninspiring and weak.
What about his close?
It was equally weak – but much shorter.
The speaker announced that he just “got the hook” while he made the cut gesture across his throat. He stated, “Well, that’s it” and left the stage.
A weak opening and a weak close; what a lousy speech - let’s hope that isn’t you.
The opening to your speech is the first impression and your close is the last impression. Make them powerful. The only way you can do that is with proper preparation, and deliberate delivery.
Remember three parts to your speech: Opening – Body – Close. Prepare and deliver all three powerfully - especially the Opening and Close.
Speech Coach for Executives