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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Practical Steps to Open With Ease and Impact

Beginnings are always difficult. But you can make starting your speech a little easier by following these steps, including the six steps to positive body language and the seven steps of the opening block.

Establish Your Credibility With Positive Body Language

  1. Breathe (remember the prana, or deep breathing technique discussed in Chapter 2).

  2. Walk to the "platform." (Take calm, easy strides. Don't run out unless you're making a super-high-energy presentation.)

  3. Thank the introducer (if there is one).

  4. Get yourself set up, arranged, and remove any distractions or previous visuals (this is especially important if you're following someone else).

  5. Take a few beats to look around the audience (give them a chance to look at you, too).

  6. Smile if appropriate; and you can do it naturally.

Begin With a Strong Opening Block

  1. Greet the audience.

  2. Begin with your attention-getter.

  3. Introduce yourself, if someone is not doing it for you.

  4. Let the audience know your purpose.

  5. Give the audience a road map of your presentation; give them a brief preview of what you'll be talking about.

  6. Let the audience know you're in control—give them all necessary directions, handouts, procedures, etc.

  7. Transition into the body of the speech.

Hook your listeners at the outset, and you're well on your way to winning the battle for their attention. At the very least, like a good suspense novelist, you will have aroused enough curiosity that they will want to see what comes next.


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