Have you ever been delighted by an unexpected Christmas gift? How did that make you feel? That sudden surge of surprise, delight and excitement pumped you up. My favorite part of Christmas is watching my child open a gift she wasn’t expecting. Her eyes light up, a toothy smile pops on her face, and she yells “wow”!
Surprise, delight and excitement are also the best reactions you can get to your next presentation.
You know, Gomer Pyle had it right! “Surprise, surprise, surprise” was one of Gomer’s favorite saying on the popular 1960s television hit series, “The Andy Griffith Show”. And you need to surprise, delight and excite everyone who sits through one of your presentations.
You may be thinking, how do you surprise business audiences who have seen millions of presentations? Some of your listeners may be jaded, bored or uninterested in your topic. That means you have to try harder to get their attention. I recommend that you add one of these surprises to your next presentation:
1. SURPRISE: Open and close your speech in an unexpected way. If every speaker opens by thanking the audience, don’t. Skip the “thank you” and launch into something the audience cares about—a topic that directly affects them or solves their problems.
2. SURPRISE: Share an original story with an unpredictable twist. You want your audience to say, “Wow. I didn’t see that coming!” Not, “I know where she’s going with that tired story. I’ve heard that one a hundred times.” Think like you’re writing a murder mystery for NBC’s “Dateline” television news show!
3. SURPRISE: Be different, unique and entertaining. Build a memorable catch phrase into your presentation that is easy to repeat and remember. I heard a presentation by the owner of a marketing company. At the end of his talk, we were all yelling “bam”! That was the catch phrase he used throughout his speech so we would remember what his company does—Branding, Advertising and Marketing. “Bam” was fun to say. “Bam” was a way to involve the audience, be memorable and stand out from the other presenters (dry, boring talking heads).
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