What’s Your Hook?

b2ap3_thumbnail_speakingWhen opening a presentation you have about 10 seconds to tell the audience if they want to connect with you or ignore you.

Poor opening: “Uhm.. hello? H-hey guys, nice to see you here!”

Good opening: “Good morning! Who here wants to make more money?!”

Great opening: “I’ll never forget the time it happened to us, we were scared, alone, and overwhelmed…”

Here are a few ideas for developing a great hook:

1) Love what you’re talking about. It will come through in your body language, your ton and gestures.
2) Talk as if you’re talking to your best friend.
3) Start with a promise to solve a common problem your audience is facing.
4) Lead with a story of adversity or tribulation. Personal is best.
5) Start with a question that makes the audience “feel the pain” of the problem your presentation can cure.

Hone your hook, because it will be what drives your presentation. If this isn’t your strong suit, or if you just want a place to try out new ideas, join a Toastmasters club, or another speaker development group. Repetition is what will get you polished, so try to find as many engagements to practice and hone your presentation style.

Don’t forget that if you’re giving a presentation with the hopes of turning some of your audience into customer, you need to have a great hook for the ending too.

I was at a retirement presentation and the ending talked about how someone can manage their retirement portfolio themselves… BUT they need all these different backgrounds and it’s a full time job etc… and then they ended with explaining there was another solution. They could talk with one of the reps in the back of the room (right by the exit!) about handling their accounts for them. They also made it easy for those not ready for face-to-face interaction, offering lots of documentation and brochures to be taken at the table in the back.

This has all the great elements of a finish: the option of doing it without the company, what the company can do for you, where to get the info, where to sign up and when (right now).

The whole presentation was wrapped up with a promise of a better future, a beautiful retirement dream that we could all live if we took action today. Very well put together.

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