You have thirty seconds to command the attention of your audience. Don’t waste it!
Jim Rohn, the incredible motivational speaker, and I were on a program in Australia together. He said, “An impressive introduction may leave your audience thinking, ‘So what?’ You want them to think ‘Me too!'” You’re helping them to tie into your ideas or beliefs–to relate quickly to a shared point of view.
Lou Dobbs, from Money Line on CNN, and I were speaking for the Young Presidents Organization in Atlanta. These YPO members are all very successful and some rather cocky. In conversation with me, a couple admitted to us in advance: “We’re very obnoxious. You’re lucky our families are here for Family University because we have to be more humble when our kids are around.”
Lou Dobbs did the most masterful job of connecting with such a self-important audience. After his intro, Lou said, “There’s one credential and award that the emcee didn’t tell you about. Last year, here in Atlanta, the Chamber of Commerce proclaimed me Father of the Year. They gave me a plaque at an impressive award ceremony where I gave a speech. Then I went home and was showing off my trophy. My teenaged son looked at it and said, ‘Uh–who actually voted on this award, Dad?'”
The Young Presidents all laughed. Lou was gently warning these fellow-parents that, no matter how impressed the outside world is with us, none of us will ever get the respect we feel we deserve from our teenagers. It was a wonderful opening, a really good example of finding an immediate connection with the audience.