Hook and Capture Attention in Your Presentations
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The power of the hook.
The ability to give an effective presentation is necessary for the legal field. Whether you’re presenting to a client, judge, jury or any other party, you must be able to persuade your audience that your argument is correct. It’s not an easy task, of course. Giving a presentation or speech takes special skills that must be practiced and honed. There is also a structure you must follow for the audience to grasp the most important points and come to the conclusion you desire.
Lead a speech with your hook
“The first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds have the most impact in a presentation.” – Patricia Fripp, award-winning speaker, sales presentation trainer, and speech coach.
One of the most important aspects of a successful presentation is the “hook” or the method used to capture attention from the first sentence. If you don’t have a strong hook, you are in danger of losing your audience, no matter how powerful your argument might be. So, how do you come up with a good hook?
Let’s look at three ways to capture attention in your presentations
1. Tell a story
“If you don’t want to preach, put stories in your speech.” – Andy Harrington, Public Speakers University, and Professional Speakers Academy.
A Ted Talk Takeaway lists eight of the most popular hooks, and number one on that list is the “story.”
Why are stories such an effective means of grabbing attention in a speech or presentation? Well, it’s part of who we are as people. Humans are natural storytellers, whether drawn on cave walls, written on paper, or typed into a laptop. Stories teach us how to understand the world and impart important lessons and morals that we carry with us throughout our entire lives. Everything from fairytales and mythology to plays and books is meant to present ideas in a way that reaches the mind and emotions. A legal presentation is not much different. Yes, you’re presenting facts or evidence, but you’re doing so in a way that keeps your audience engaged.
2. Show a video, image, or graphic
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Fred R. Barnard
You’ve probably heard the quote many times before. One of the tenants of good fiction writing is a concept called, “show, don’t tell.” What it means is that writers need to “show” a character’s thoughts and emotions through dialogue, facial expressions, and body language. Rather than simply telling the reader that a character is sad or angry, authors must show the emotion.
When it comes to a legal presentation, it’s also important to “show” your facts or evidence using pictures, videos, and graphics. Plus, people process images faster than text. So, start off with a compelling image, an interesting graphic, or a video that will instantly convey your main idea or argument.
3. Make a provocative or interesting statement
“Start with a statement that is designed to arouse curiosity and make the audience look up and listen to you attentively,” Bruna Martinuzzi, American Express Open Forum.
A provocative or engaging statement will make your audience sit up to hear what you say next. Here’s an example of an opening from a presentation by author Dan Pink in one of his TED Talks. “I need to make a confession, at the outset. A little over 20 years ago, I did something that I regret. Something that I am not particularly proud of, something that in many ways I wished no one would ever know, but that here I feel kind of obliged to reveal. In the late 1980s, in a moment of youthful indiscretion, I went to law school.”
A strong presentation starts with your first sentence. Use these three tips to create your best hook to engage your audience.
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