Friday, July 27, 2012

The Opening Ceremonies Set The Tone.... For The Olympics AND Your Speech

The 2008 Olympics in Beijing are forever remembered because of how the opening ceremonies captivated the audience worldwide (sorry Michael Phelps).  The 2012 Olympics in London kick-off in a few hours, and the organizing committee has put in thousands of hours to create a spectacle that will fascinate the soul.

The opening sets the tone for the whole event.  This is not just true of the Olympics, but everything.  People form opinions quickly.  Researchers have shown that people make decisions about all sorts of things in seconds (or fractions of a second), and the cliche "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" could not be more true.  How we launch is paramount to the impression we leave behind.

This is true for speakers.  Too many business professionals begin their talks without any preparation.  They thank the person who gave the introduction, they tell the audience they are honored, and then ramble around about what they will talk about.  Too few speakers have learned about the importance of the opening ceremonies.  

The next time you give a speech, invest time in creating a compelling opening.  The effort you put in will create a stronger impression and allow you audience to feel more engaged.

Not sure if I am right?  Imagine if tonight's Olympic Opening Ceremonies was not rehearsed.  What if the athletes all just pushed and kicked into the stadium and the entertainers had all met for the first time in the parking lot?  What you would see would be a horrible mess.  But that is not what will happen in London.  The opening will have pizzazz and will be clearly choreographed.  

When the first few minutes of your presentation has not been planned out with clarity... what your audience gets can be a horrible mess.  Your opening ceremonies set the tone for your whole speech.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

1 comment:

Thom Singer said...

Interesting footnote... I did not like the opening ceremonies of the London Games all that much. However... they were very well done, and thus they still set the tone in a positive manner.

This is a reminder that everyone need not like the speaker... as long as he or she is good at what she does.