Open with a dramatic statement


Audiences decide within the first 60 seconds whether to pay attention to your fascinating speech or daydream during your boring presentation. Don’t waste that time by stating your name, organization and what you plan to talk about. Those details were likely covered in your introduction and speech announcement.

Instead, after someone introduces you, smile, take a long pause, look over the audience and then deliver a grabber that will wake up audience members and give them a reason to listen.


  • Recite a staggering statistic.
  • State an extraordinary fact.
  • Deliver a fascinating quote.
  • Pose a rhetorical question.
  • Present a unique observation.
  • Tell an emotion-packed story.
  • Juxtapose drastically different images.
  • Suggest that they use their imaginations as you describe a scenario.

— Adapted from “Introduction: The POW! Statement,” Eliot Shapiro and Eric Schor, Speaker’s Digest,

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