Throat Clearing and Starting Blocks

Presenters, beware of public warm-ups. A warm-up is not part of a race; likewise, it is not part of a speech. You warm up before putting your feet in the starting blocks. Athletes pre-visualize what happens in the first seconds in the race as their body spring into action. They rehearse the start, again and again, and again until in are at their best.

author tableatny source BXP135624
author tableatny; Sprinter at starting block
source Flicker.

Good speakers rehearse the first words of their talk again and again, and again, until they sound their best. Good speakers do not ad-lib. Ad-libbing leads to rambling. And rambling wastes valuable time. Make these words count. Do not say what you will say.

Today, I want to talk about… Let me start by asking you… Hello, my name is  so and so and the topic of my talk is …

The first few words you tell the audience should be direct, not a reference to what you will say and do. They should call for attention, bring in the audience into your world, make them active participants.

The first few words should include a verb. Verbs do wonder. They call for action. They corral the wandering minds, the drifters. They knock on the door of their imagination.

Imagine… What would you do if…


Author: Jean-Luc Lebrun

This century: Writer on Scientific writing skills and scientific presentation skills, MC for scientific events, Podcaster, Radio Consultant, Trainer for Research Institutes in Engineering and Life Sciences, Singapore, and in European doctoral schools, as well as in South East Asia Universities. Last Century: Apple Computer, Advanced Technology Group, Technology Information manager. Then Director of the Apple-ISS Research Centre - a joint venture between Apple Computer and the National University of Singapore. Producer of TV program on IT for Singapore Channel 5.