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  When we speak, we have about 60 seconds to capture our audience’s attention, establish credibility, orient them to our topic, and motivate them to listen, says Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results.”

  “当我们陈述演讲时,大概拥有60秒的时间来抓住听众的注意力,建立信任感,引向话题并引发他们继续听下去的欲望。”美国Well Said公司主席兼《说得好!如何演讲和对话才能起到效果》的合著作者达琳•普莱斯(Darlene Price)这样说道。

  If you waste those precious opening seconds with a joke, an agenda, an apology, housekeeping details, a string of thank-yous, or a rambling pointless paragraph littered with “ums” and “uhs,” your audience’s minds are likely to drift, and you may not get them back. “You, your message, and your audience deserve much more,” Price says. “You need to put the art in the start, the most important part of the work.”


  That’s a tall order for any speaker — and it requires us to develop and rehearse a well-crafted attention-getting opener. Price offers seven options.


  1. Tell a captivating story. 讲述一个吸引人的故事

  "Of all the starters in your tool kit, storytelling is among the most powerful and consistently successful,” Price says. “As humans, we’re hard-wired to enjoy and learn from stories. ”


  The story can be about you personally, which tells the audience first-hand why you’re invested in and passionate about the topic. Or you can tell a story about another person who the audience can learn from. “Another option: tell a fable, wisdom tale, historic event, or anecdote,” Price says. “The idea is, start with a brief 60- to 90-second narrative that launches your speech and captivates your listeners, and make sure the story encapsulates the key point of your message.”


  She suggests you consider these questions as you craft your version of “Once upon a time”: What challenges have you (or another) faced in relation to your topic? How did you (or another) overcome them? Who or what helped you or harmed you? What lessons were learned? What do you want your audience to gain, feel, or do as a result of the story?


  2. Ask a rhetorical thought-provoking question. 提出一个发人深省的反问句

  “As a speaker, you ask rhetorical questions for persuasive effect; you don’t expect the audience to answer aloud, rather silently to themselves,” Price explains. When crafted and delivered well, rhetorical questions influence an audience to believe in the position of the speaker. “Clearly, Shakespeare’s character Shylock is leading his listeners to think ‘yes’ four times in order to justify revenge against Antonio. What do you want your audience to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to?”


  In addition to yes or no questions, you can also arouse curiosity and motivate your audience to think about the answer, she says.


  3. State a shocking statistic or headline. 陈述匪夷所思的数据或标题

  “The statistic, bold claim, or headline needs to be directly related to the main purpose of your presentation,” Price explains. “Its impact ideally persuades the audience to listen and respond positively to your recommendation and next steps.”


  4. Use a powerful quote. 引用强大有力的引言

  “Employ the wise words of a well-known person because the name allows you to tap into his or her credibility, likeability, and notoriety,” she says. The quote must have meaning and relevance to the audience.


  Imagine you’re urging a group to reach consensus, or giving a talk on conflict management. You could open with: “Mark Twain once said, ‘If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.’ Even though some of us disagree on the xyz issue, each of us is necessary in the reaching a resolution.”

  试想你正在要求一组人群达成共识,或是针对一个争议性话题展开讨论。你可以以这样的方式开场:“马克•吐温(Mark Twain)曾经说过——如果两个人总是意见相投,那么其中一人肯定是多余的。即便我们团队中有人并不同意某事,但是任何人都将在达成决议中起到必要作用。”

  5. Show a gripping photo. 展示一张吸引人的照片

  A picture is worth a thousand words — “maybe even more,” Price says.


  “Use photos instead of text, when possible,” she suggests. A quality photo adds aesthetic appeal, increases comprehension, engages the audience’s imagination, and makes the message more memorable.


  Price offers the following example of an effective use of an image:


  The president of an electronics equipment company needed his managers to cut costs. Rather than showing mundane charts, graphs, and spreadsheets, he opened the meeting by asking, “What sank the Titanic?” When everyone in unison replied, “an iceberg,” he displayed a beautiful high-definition image of an iceberg on the screen: the tip of the iceberg was clearly visible above the water; the much larger portion was dimly visible below the surface ofthe water.


  “The same thing is about to happen to our company,” he continued. “Hidden costs — the dangers beneath the surface — are about to sink this company. I need your help.” This visual metaphor spawned a creative, productive brainstorming session that inspired every business unit manager to diligently hunt for what they labeled the “icebergs,” says Price. The result was saving millions and ultimately the company.


  6. Use a prop or creative visual aid. 使用道具或创意视觉辅助工具

  “A prop is a magnetic tool that hooks your audience and keeps them watching — or listening,” Price says. A visual aid can also help emphasize a point.


  “Think about how you could use items like a big wall clock, a colorful gift bag, juggling balls, a deck of cards, a bunch of carrots, or another prop, to introduce your topic, captivate the audience, inject humor, and drive home your message.”


  7. Play a short video. 播放短视频

  Imagine kicking off a product management meeting with a video of compelling customer testimonials, or opening a fund raising event for endangered species by showing an Amur Leopard playing with her cubs in the wild.


  “Videos evoke emotional responses,” Price explains. “Unlike text and bullet points on a slide, you can employ people, pictures, and sound to reel in the audience, add drama, and communicate the gist of your message quickly.“As Walt Disney said,“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained."

  普莱斯表示:“视频能够唤起情绪反应。与文本和幻灯片上的信息点不同,你可以运用人像,图片,声音来吸引观众,增加戏剧效果并迅速传达信息要点。”正如沃尔特•迪斯尼(Walt Disney)曾经说过,“我宁愿娱乐大众,并希望人们从中学到一些东西而不是教育人民并指望他们能被我娱乐。”

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