How To Open A Speech #53: The Small Detail
This is an excerpt from my new book, 101 Ways to Open a Speech, available at Amazon.
In this open, you will begin by focusing on a small detail intended to intrigue the audience — but that won’t make much sense on its own without the further explanation the rest of your open (or full presentation) provides.
A speaker discussing the obesity epidemic might begin by holding up an ordinary dinner plate.
“This is a dinner plate. When you look at it, the first thing you notice might be that it is blue and white. Or perhaps you noticed its round shape. Or maybe you observed that it is made of porcelain and has an attractive striped pattern on its wide, ridged edges.
I don’t see any of those things. When I look at this dinner plate, I see a solution to a major national epidemic, a potential cure toward our obesity crisis.
You see, this plate is only eight inches in diameter, which is smaller than most other dinner plates. And research shows that trading a larger dinner plate for a smaller one can essentially ‘trick’ your brain into believing that you’ve eaten more than you actually have.
For that reason, I’d like you to try to see this plate as I do—not as a piece of porcelain, but as an object representing health and well-being that can improve life for millions of people.”
The “small” detail you select for your talk can be a physical object (like a plate), a seemingly inconsequential piece of data (that you will show contains a great deal of importance), or a single word or phrase in a much longer document that reveals in some meaningful way a hidden truth.