- Signal “This is different, so pay attention.”–Because it’s not the typical “Great to be here” opening or long intro/warm-up before the “real” material kicks in, starting with a story signals “this is different from the typical talk you’re used to.” Thus it grabs their attention.
2. Grab the audience’s attention by creating an emotional connection.–Starting with a story that speaks to the audience’s key source of pain, and/or also shows what’s possible if they listen to and apply what you’re going to talk about, communicates “I understand you and what I have will be helpful to you.” Since it speaks to something very relevant, and emotionally-charged, it grabs the audience at an emotional, visceral level, which makes them more alert and attentive.
Here’s a short clip of the story I used to open a talk titled Tell a Better Story. Become More Interesting. Grow Your Business. Notice how this story taps into a source of pain (and anxiety) many entrepreneurs and business owners (my audience at this event) have and…provides a picture of what’s possible if they listen to what I’m going to share.