The Heart of Powerful Presentations – Emotional Connection

To foster true engagement, always let your audience know you have their best interests at heart.

To win over your audience, you must connect emotionally. Use your opening words to establish an immediate emotional connection. As an executive speech coach when I work with a group, I’ll invite individuals to come up to the front and deliver their opening lines. On one occasion, I had a presenter Stephen, who began to share the facts of his experience of living with deafness since birth. After he spoke, I felt he was missing an opportunity.

I took him aside and suggested he try a different approach. Stephen spoke again saying, “Imagine, how my parents felt as the doctor walked into the room and said, I am so sorry tell you this, but your beautiful boy is deaf.” He painted a vivid picture of this pivotal moment in his parents’ lives. Whether or not they were parents themselves, audience members were able to emotionally connect with the situation. You could feel a change in the room.

You have many theatrical choices in how you open your presentation, but remember that to foster true engagement, always let your audience know you have their best interests at heart. Too often, presenters will start with, “I am going to talk about…” or, “What I would like to do first is…” The reality is, nobody cares about what a speaker plans or wants to do. Your audience cares about whether or not your message is relevant to their own interests and concerns.

Craft your opening to establish an immediate emotional connection with your audience.

You can turn the “I want to…” and “I am going to…” statements around. Start with your powerful opening to create emotional connection, and then follow this with you-focused language. For example, “In the next 45 minutes, you will learn four specific ways that you can transform your organization.”

I recommend that you record your presentation and have it transcribed. What we think we say, and what we actually say, can be very different. When you review your presentation, consider it objectively from your audience’s perspective – or, even better, ask others to give you an objective evaluation, as I did when I coached Stephen. He had a wonderful story to tell, but it took an outside observer help him tell his story in a way that would immediately connect with his audience.

Powerful and persuasive presentations connect with an audience on both an intellectual and emotional level.

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When Boring Will Not Do – Your Opening,” “Opening Phrases You Can Use – Fripp Virtual Training Video,”  “Use a Quote to Open Your Talk,” “How to Open Your Speech with A Statistic – Fripp Virtual Training Video,” and “Three Ways to Emotionally Connect with Your Audience” are just a few more of the complimentary resources on to help you improve your openings and your ability to connect with your audience.

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.