The Oren Klaff Project

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During any presentation, the first thing you say and the last thing you say are the most important words that will come out of your mouth. On this episode of the podcast, Jim Davies and I focus on the best way to start your talk. We cover two specific scripts you can apply to any topic to grab your audience’s attention, establish intrigue, and make them feel like what you’re talking about is important and worth listening to. We also walk you through the main things to avoid during the first few seconds.

Show Notes

The Common Wisdom is Wrong

When you think about how to start a speech, the first things that come to mind for most people are to kick things off with a joke or to begin with a story. But these strategies can actually backfire. Unless your joke is hilarious and relevant to your topic, and unless you are a very talented storyteller, these approaches come across as amateur. 

On this episode, cognitive scientist Jim Davies and I explore the science behind why these strategies often fall flat. We also reveal two specific scripts you can use to start any presentation off with a bang: the “harder than it looks” setup and the Apparent Contradiction Frame. 

The “Harder than It Looks” Setup

One way to warm up your audience is to introduce your topic as being more difficult than most people think. This causes your listeners to immediately pay attention. First, they are interested to learn what makes it so difficult. Second, they want to find out how to overcome these difficulties. 

Jim and I break down the science of how this setup works and we walk through some scripts you can use to apply it to any topic you’d like. 

The Apparent Contradiction Frame

Another great warmup is to reveal two pieces of information that both seem true to the audience but are mutually exclusive. This creates conflict in the listener’s mind. By highlighting a contradiction, you entice your audience to pay close attention to your talk in order to resolve the conflict and figure out the truth. 

This technique works because the human brain hates contradictions and works hard to resolve them. It’s simple to find conflicting statements for any topic you’re speaking about and I’ll show you how to do it during this episode. Jim and I provide examples and scripts you can use to apply this opening to your own talks.

What is The Oren Klaff Project?

The bestselling author of Pitch Anything takes time out of his busy morning to entertain and discuss pro-level sales methods and ways that top companies close their big deals. This is a fast-paced and high-energy conversation about dealmaking at every level. Oren Klaff provides the kind of real-world experiences and examples you can use to break through to your next level. One short episode is enough to hook you.